What ever happened, this Investigation, and Vulnerable Children, in Foster Care Homes? We will, keep Searching, for some, Facts and Truth here. Where is Martin, at present.

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Social worker is found guilty of misconduct over fostering


A senior social worker has been found guilty of professional misconduct and poor professional performance over the inappropriate placing of children in foster homes, and a failure to notify Tusla of protection issues.

A fitness to practise inquiry by Coru, the regulatory body for social workers, found a series of allegations proven about John Martin, former director of fostering at Fresh Start, a childcare service provider in Carlow.

The inquiry heard claims that one girl was having sexual relations with the sons of her foster parents.

Senior Social Worker John Martin
John Martin. Pic: Fresh Start Fostering Services/Facebook

Mr Martin was also accused of failing to notify Tusla of an incident where two girls in care arrived home very drunk, after which one girl cut her left arm with a razor blade.

The inquiry heard that Fresh Start filed a child notification report two months after a foster parent reported that a child in her care had told her she had been raped and physically abused by her uncle and cousin.

On another occasion, Mr Martin failed to report a claim by a girl that she felt unsafe after her foster father acted ‘creepy’ by coming into her bedroom at 3am on the first night of her placement in December 2015.

The ruling on Mr Martin followed a public inquiry held over eight days between November 2021 and March 2022. It examined complaints first notified to Coru in 2017 arising from highly critical reports by HIQA following inspections of Fresh Start.

Coru’s Professional Conduct Committee examined 17 allegations relating to children placed in foster homes in the mid-Leinster area.

Evidence was heard that many of the placements ended abruptly with some cases requiring gardaí to make emergency care orders.

The committee found Mr Martin guilty of professional misconduct and poor professional performance for placing seven children in a foster home between January 2015 and February 2016 when he knew it was contrary to an agreement reached with Tusla in December 2014.

The inquiry heard several of the children had very complex needs.

Committee chairwoman Susan Ahern, said Mr Martin knew that no more children should be placed with a certain family until concerns raised about them had been addressed.

Mr Martin said his actions were ‘good and safe’ and he believed he was doing the right thing for the children.

The committee did not disclose the sanction it has recommended to Coru to impose on Mr Martin.

The owner of Fresh Start, David Durney, told the inquiry that the fostering service had been losing money and it needed to arrange more placements.

However, Mr Durney rejected any suggestion that pressure had been put on staff or that Mr Martin would have placed a child in foster care ‘just to get more money’.

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