The caseworker who placed Kendall Chick with her grandfather, Stephen Hood, and her grandfather’s fiancee, Shawna Gatto, of Wiscasset, lost her license Aug. 3 for “gross incompetence and negligence,” according to the Board of Social Worker Licensure. Heather Campbell had not performed State Bureau of Identification criminal background checks on the couple which would have revealed Hood’s previous convictions for assault, and would likely have disqualified them, according to the board’s records.
Campbell did not appear at her disciplinary hearing July 12. In the final decision Aug. 3, Campbell lost her license and was fined $1,000.
In April 2018, Campbell was accused of falsifying records about the background checks, according to the records; she had asserted in electronic documents that neither Gatto nor Hood had any criminal convictions. The lack of a criminal check came to light in December 2017 and January 2018, during an investigation by the Office of Child and Family Services. Campbell completed a Kinship Care Assessment that indicated she had requested and received the SBI criminal background checks on both Hood and Gatto on May 4. 2016. She also said she had contacted the local police department to determine if there were any pending charges against either adult, and that neither had any criminal convictions or pending charges or neither was on probation or parole.
Hood had multiple convictions for assault, which would have been on the SBI report in June 2016, according to the board’s records.
According to trial testimony and a justice’s decision, Chick, 4, was murdered Dec. 8, 2017, after being subject to child abuse for many months. Gatto was convicted of murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison. She is appealing the conviction and sentence.
In her response to the board, Campbell said she felt she was being scapegoated for the child’s murder. She said she left her job at OCFS in January, after her conditional license was denied. She told the board she left due to stressful, unsupportive working conditions. Campbell asserted she had visited or telephoned the home six times in the eight months prior to the case being closed, and that she had never had a complaint during her previous five years working for OCFS.