A carer has been suspended from her job after a child was found to be living alone in a freezing house where they slept on a dirty mattress for a bed.
Michele Williamson, from Dundee, was ordered to carry out 165 hours of unpaid work and was placed under a year-long suspension after she was found guilty of child neglect.
It comes after the child was discovered by police in April 2021 living alone in “inadequate living conditions” following a tip off by an anonymous whistle-blower.
Dundee Sheriff Court in September 2022 heard that the Williamson would check in on the child once a week but wouldn’t stay, leaving the youngster to fend for themselves in a freezing house surviving on bowls of cereal.
The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) suspended Wiliamson for a year, stating that her fitness to practice was impaired, citing her actions as raising questions over her suitability for the profession.
They stated: “The panel on consideration of all the factors decided that your fitness to practise is currently impaired on public interest grounds as a result of your conviction.
“The offences are serious and call into question your suitability to work in care.
“On seriousness of the conduct, the presenter submitted that the behaviour that led to the conviction was serious.
“The neglect and abandonment of the child placed [them] at significant risk of harm and fell within section 10.6 of the Decisions Guidance that was fundamentally incompatible with Registration.
“The panel recognised your conduct which gave rise to the conviction was serious. You left [the child] exposed to the risk of physical and emotional harm over a period of time.
“Although the conduct took place outside of work, the behaviour brought your suitability to work in the sector into question.”
“Although you were reluctant to accept that [the child] had been left with inadequate food and heating, you did demonstrate insight into your behaviour and clearly recognised your wrongdoing and that [the child] could have been exposed to harm.
“You expressed sorrow and remorse for your actions. You also recognised the impact your conviction could have upon people who use social services.
“You accepted responsibility for your actions and pled guilty to the offence.
“The panel acknowledged the conduct took place outside of work.
“However, in respect of public interest risks the conviction by the very nature of it, in a profession that has a duty to protect and care for the most vulnerable, carries significant weight and any mitigatory factors less so.
“You have moved on with your life, you are studying for qualifications to further your career, you have expressed remorse and regret for your actions and by doing so have taken responsibility for your situation.
“The panel consider a suspension order for a period of 12 months to be a fair and proportionate period of time to reflect the seriousness of the conduct.”