Ayrshire childcare worker struck off for threatening to ‘ragdoll’ child ‘all over school’

An Ayrshire residential childcare worker has been struck off for threatening to “ragdoll” a child in his care.

Steven Chapman, whose town of employment was given as Mauchline, then pushed the 13 year-old boy towards his car while placing one hand on his neck and one on his arm.

He warned the child: “I’ll f*****g ragdoll you about the school”, or words to that effect.

Chapman was then claimed to have said: “I’m f*****g soaking now because of you,” or words to the effect.

Details of Chapman’s behaviour emerged today from the conclusion of a Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) investigation.

The incident took place on or around September 11, 2020 while Chapman was employed by Spark of Genius – which provides residential care at a number of sites in Ayrshire.

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Chapman was deemed to have “lost control,”; was “verbally abusive” and his actions bordered on ‘physical abuse’.

In its report, the SSSC told Chapman: “You [Chapman] have been verbally abusive towards a child in your care.

“Your actions, in holding the child by the neck and arm, could be considered to verge on physically abusive.

“Your actions indicate a loss of self-control when faced with challenging behaviour.”

The SSSC said it did not know if the child suffered any emotional or physical harm but said there was a “risk” that this “could have occurred.”

The report goes on: “The child involved may have felt reluctant to engage with other staff members for fear of being spoken to and treated in the same manner.”

In further criticism of Chapman’s actions, the SSSC said he “failed to acknowledge” the seriousness of his behaviour and the “potential impact” that it could have had on the child and he provided “no assurances” that he would act differently in the future.

Chapman, who is no longer employed by Spark of Genius, claimed the situation had been taken ‘completely out of context’ and that the comment about ‘ragdolling’ was ‘banter’.

The SSSC report goes on: “Social service workers will often find themselves in challenging situations with the children that they are entrusted to care for.

“This is to be expected within this type of work, particularly in light of the various vulnerabilities that the children may have. There is a risk that if you were faced with a similarly challenging situation in the future that the behaviour would be repeated.”

The governing body also said Chapman’s behaviour fell “far below the standards expected” of social service workers and was “serious.”

It added: “Your actions demonstrate a loss of self-control.”

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