Birmingham social worker struck off after biting son

A children’s social worker was struck off the professional register today after biting her son while under the influence of alcohol.

The General Social Care Council (GSCC) said it could not name the individual or reveal the local authority where she worked. It received medical evidence that she suffered from an abnormal personality and longstanding mental health issues.

The case was heard in private by a conduct committee in Birmingham, under rules that guaranteed the social worker’s anonymity. She did not attend.

The committee accepted evidence that the woman’s two sons were considered at risk of emotional abuse and placed on the child protection register for 11 weeks in 2003.

The council said “Ms X” had two convictions in 2004 for failing to give blood samples to police after being stopped while driving. She was dismissed by one local authority in May 2005, but did not admit the fact when she applied successfully for a social work job with another authority a few months later.

During 2006, her sons were placed on the child protection register – for three months on the grounds that they were at risk of physical harm, and for a further six months on the grounds that they were at risk of emotional harm.

Last year, while drunk, she bit her 16-year-old son on the arm. As a result, her 13-month-old grandchild, who lived with her, was made subject of a child protection plan under the category of “at risk of physical abuse”.

The GSCC decided she should not be allowed to have responsibility for protecting other people’s children when she could not look after her own.

It said: “The committee decided that the behaviour of Ms X was so serious that the only appropriate sanction was removal from the register. The allegation consisted of 26 separate parts, all of a serious nature, which were repeated over a prolonged period and there was a significant risk of repeating behaviour.”

Ms X was removed from the register immediately and can no longer practise social work, but she has a right of appeal to an independent tribunal.

Rosie Varley, chairwoman of the GSCC, said: “All social workers sign up to a code of practice when they register with us and the majority of the 95,000 people on the social care register find no difficulty in complying with this, providing high-quality care to the hundreds of thousands of people who use services.

“It is vital in order to preserve public confidence in those services that we address misconduct and take appropriate action against those who commit it.”