Nursery worker locked 'vulnerable' child in shed during shift

The SSSC found Lewis Townsend's actions put the vulnerable child, who had additional needs, at a significant risk of harm.

Nursery worker Lewis Townsend who locked ‘vulnerable’ child in shed during shift in Fife struck off Pixabay

A nursery worker who locked a child in a shed during a shift has been banned from the profession.

Lewis Townsend was removed from the register for day care workers after being found to have locked a child in a nursery garden shed in Fife for around four minutes.

Townsend, who was employed in Kirkcaldy, was three months into the post when he “wilfully” caused the child “unnecessary” suffering or injury to health.

An investigation by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) found there was a “risk of injury” if one of the items in the shed had fallen on the child.

The watchdog found that the former carer’s actions put the vulnerable child, who had additional needs, at a significant risk of harm.

The SSSC said that the actions were motivated by the difficulty they were experiencing in supporting the child’s needs and behaviours.

However, they highlighted that Townsend’s actions of choosing to lock the child in the shed put his own needs above the safety of the child.

The watchdog labelled the actions as a “fundamental failing” and raised questions about his suitability to work in the social services profession.

The probe noted that Townsend had demonstrated “regret and remorse” and said he put the child in the shed for their own safety.

Townsend told the investigation that the actions were not intended to cause harm which the SSSC said indicated a lack of understanding around how to protect the safety and wellbeing of children in his care.

The watchdog acknowledged that the incident was isolated and did not form part of wider concerns about Townsend’s practice.

On the carer’s removal from the register, the SSSC, said: “The SSSC considers a Removal Order is the most appropriate sanction as it is both necessary and justified in the public interest and to maintain the continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator of the profession.”

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