Foster mother 'not told of child's sex offences'

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The Independent Online

A foster mother who was not told that a child placed in her care was a sex offender is suing Salford City Council in a test case that will highlight what has become an ethical minefield for social workers.

Carol Parkins claims she was only notified that the 15-year-old was a sex offender after he had abused a boy aged 11 who was also in her care. She claims social workers failed to tell her that the older child had been removed from two previous foster homes for molesting other children.

Her legal suit follows a House of Lords decision last month to allow a couple to sue Essex County Council in a similar case. The couple were not told that a child they agreed to foster in 1993 had been abused - and represented a risk. He later committed a sex assault one of their own four children.

The British Association of Adoption and Fostering said the cases exposed conflicting demands on social workers. Felic-ity Collier, the chief executive, said many teenagers wanted a fresh start with a new family, without their pasts being aired. But foster parents "must be furnished with all the facts, to ensure appropriate care for sex offenders", she added.