Care worker struck off for ‘inappropriate’ relationship with 15-year-old boy

A residential care worker was struck off after she admitted forming an “inappropriate” relationship with a 15-year-old boy she was looking after.

Tracey Hannah, 39, was sacked after bosses at the secure unit where she worked discovered her illicit relationship with the young boy, who was serving a sentence for culpable homicide.

The care worker admitted “failing to maintain professional boundaries” by “allowing an unprofessional and inappropriate” relationship to develop with the teenager.

At a Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) in Dundee on Thursday, Ms Hannah was removed from the register after admitting four charges of misconduct.

Ms Hannah, a care worker with 11 years’ experience, did not appear at the hearing to defend herself, and admitted her misconduct by way of joint minute.

She admitted the relationship with the boy at an unnamed secure unit in Airdrie, which the SSSC ruled, put the youngster’s mental health and wellbeing at risk.

Presenting the SSSC case, solicitor Grant Brown said that Ms Hannah’s conduct meant she had to be removed from the register in order to protect the public.

He said: “The registrant’s behaviour across these four charges are fundamentally incompatible with being a social care worker.

“These charges are serious, deliberate, involved a breach of trust, dishonesty, showed a lack of insight, resulting in a level of misconduct that is a serious departure from the standards set out in the code of practice.

“This is an unacceptable pattern of behaviour and removal from the register is the only adequate way of protecting the public. The registrant accepted what she did but did not accept she put the service user’s health and wellbeing at risk.

“By not acknowledging the consequences of her actions – given she was aware of his history – she demonstrates no level of insight and therefore a suspension order would not be appropriate.”

SSSC conduct committee chair Audrey Watson revealed that the three-person panel took less than an hour to rule Ms Hannah’s conduct amounted to misconduct.

It was earlier revealed that Ms Hannah wrote notes and sent cards to the youth, named as AA.

The “private, personal, inappropriate and unprofessional” written correspondence was sent between December 2009 and July last year.

She also admitted phoning AA, contrary to her employer’s reasonable instructions. She even tried to phone the secure unit by using an alias in order to speak to AA.

Ms Hannah also admitted telling AA on June 3, 2010, of a proposed move for him to another unit, despite express instructions not to, and by doing so put his mental health and wellbeing at risk.

She now has 14 days to appeal her removal from the SSSC register.