A trainee day care worker has been warned by a watchdog and dismissed from her job after pushing a child’s forehead while attempting to stop them from biting another youngster.
The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has placed a 12-month warning on Simona Cornea’s registration for putting the child at risk of “physical harm and distress”.
The incident took place in May 2022 while Ms Cornea was a trainee at Little Gems nursery in Armadale in May 2022.
It was confirmed that the child was uninjured as a result of the incident, but there was “potential of significant harm to be caused”.
The SSSC said in its report: “Your fitness to practise is impaired because social service workers are trusted to care for some of the most vulnerable members of society and must not abuse, harm or neglect them.
“You have put your fingers on a child’s forehead and pushed their head back. This behaviour placed the child at risk of physical harm. Your behaviour also has the potential to cause the child distress and show them that you were annoyed or frustrated at them.
“Your behaviour demonstrates a disregard for the safety and wellbeing of a child in your care and falls below the professional standards expected from a registered social service worker.
“The behaviour is serious. Although the child was not injured as a result of your behaviour, there was potential for significant physical harm to be caused.
“In the circumstances, your behaviour appears to have been an instantaneous response to the child biting another child an attempt to highlight the unacceptability of the child’s behaviour to them. Nevertheless, this was an inappropriate and unacceptable way to respond to the situation.
“You worked in the social service sector for around 18 months and the SSSC is not aware of any other concerns being raised about your practice during this time.
“This represents a period of positive previous practice. Your behaviour was isolated, and you have demonstrated some understanding of the seriousness of your behaviour and how you should have reacted instead.
“Notwithstanding the insight shown and your previously unblemished record, your behaviour does appear to have been impulsive in nature and you are therefore unable to reasonably advise you would never respond in the same manner if faced with similar circumstances in the future.
“You are not known to have worked in the social services sector since this matter came to light. Accordingly, you have not demonstrated any subsequent period of positive practice. For these reasons, there is a moderate risk of repetition.”
The owners of Little Gems Nursery confirmed Cornea no longer works for the company, adding that she was dismissed from her position following the incident and both sets of parents were informed.
They said: “A member of staff has been dismissed for taking inappropriate action in response to one child biting another.
“Both sets of parents were informed. Along with the SSSC we are satisfied this was an isolated incident.
“We take our safeguarding role very seriously and our number one priority is to ensure the safety of all our children at all times.”
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