An Aberdeen social worker has been thrown out of the profession after he failed to protect a child who was “being allowed to visit a crack den with their father”.
Ross Mitchell, a social worker at Aberdeen City Council, had his registration removed by the care watchdog the Scottish Social Services Council.
He admitted a misconduct rap following an investigation by the body, who ruled he had “placed a child at unnecessary risk of harm”.
A probe by the SSSC found that Mr Mitchell – only recently qualified when he went to work for Aberdeen City Council – had bungled a string of cases that left children at “ongoing risk”.
In the first case, between August and November 2014, he failed to find out the outcome of a court hearing relating to a child’s father and to investigate if the father “presented an ongoing risk”.
Also that November he lied to a colleague about returning a child to a drug-user father’s care and failed to follow a manager’s instruction to leave the child in their mother’s care, it was found.
The following February a client of Mitchell’s told him that a child, identified only as EE, was “being allowed to visit a ‘crack den’” with the child’s father.
However, Mitchell failed to pass that information on to a team manager for more than a month despite knowing that the father “presented a significant risk”.
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That resulted in a delay in applying for a child-protection order for the child.
In a written judgment, the SSSC’s fitness to practice panel said Mitchell had been “negligent” and “demonstrated a failure in his duty of care”.
They wrote: “Your omissions placed a child at unnecessary risk of harm.”
Referring specifically to the crack-den incident, they added: “By failing to report information, which suggested that a child was at serious risk of harm, to a manager, you placed that child at serious risk of harm.
“As a social worker you were expected to recognise risk and take action accordingly.
“This behaviour demonstrated a disregard for the level of risk involved and the welfare of the child.
“Your behaviour contributed to there being a delay in a Child Protection Order application being progressed.
“This delay meant that the child was placed at risk of harm for an unnecessary period of time.”
Mr Mitchell has not been employed by the council since April 2015, and a spokesman for the local authority said it would not comment on matters relating to former staff members.