Social workers 'reluctant' to investigate gay foster parents
Published by webmaster for 24dash.com in Local Government
Ian Wathey (left) and Craig Faunch were jailed last year for sexual offences against boys placed in their care (Pic: PA)
Social workers were reluctant to investigate two gay foster parents who were later convicted of abusing children in their care for fear of being seen as prejudiced, an independent report published today found.
The report was ordered by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council after Craig Faunch and Ian Wathey were jailed last year for sexual offences against four boys who were placed in their care.
The inquiry found the children had been let down by "failures in performance", both by individuals and in systems put in place by the council.
The report's authors concluded that some staff were not up to the job of dealing with Faunch and Wathey, who had 18 children placed with them between August 2003 and January 2005.
"It is clear that these foster carers proved challenging to a number of professional staff, some of whom were ill-equipped for the task of working with them and supervising them in their care of children," the report said.
The document said that council workers had "anxieties" about their actions being viewed as discriminating against gay people.
"The fear of being discriminatory led them to fail to discriminate between the appropriate and the abusive," says the report.
Elaine McHale, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council's corporate director of family services said: "We welcome the completion of the independent inquiry carried out at our request by Brian Parrott.
"We are grateful for all his work and for the recommendations he has made as a result of his investigation, which we are using to improve our fostering services now and for the future.
"The report will be presented to the full meeting of the council on September 12. Until then, it is not appropriate for us to comment further."
Wathey and Faunch were found guilty of abusing four boys aged between eight and 14 following a two-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.
Copyright Press Association 2007.
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