Saturday, November 24, 2012

Husband and wife's foster children from ethnic minorities 'taken away because couple joined Ukip'

A married couple claimed yesterday they had their foster children taken away from them for being members of Ukip. Social workers told the couple, who were caring for three children from ethnic minorities, that the party had ‘racist’ policies and that their membership of it made them unsuitable carers, it was reported last night. The foster parents, who have been caring for children for nearly seven years and had been described as ‘exemplary’, said they were left feeling ‘stigmatised and slandered’. 
'Stigmatised': The couple were told that their membership of Ukip - which campaigns for the UK to leave the EU - made them unsuitable carers
'Stigmatised': The couple were told that their membership of Ukip - which campaigns for the UK to leave the EU - made them unsuitable carers

The couple are worried they will be stopped from fostering again because of their membership of the UK Independence Party, which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU. Around a dozen children have been cared for by the couple, who do not want to be named. The three latest children, a baby girl, boy and an older girl from a troubled family, came to them in September on an emergency placement. But just eight weeks later, two staff from the Labour-run Rotherham council – the nearest to their village home in South Yorkshire – arrived and announced the local safeguarding children team had been told they were Ukip members in an anonymous tip.

The wife told the Daily Telegraph: ‘I was dumbfounded. Then my question to both of them was, “What has Ukip got to do with having the children removed?” ‘Then one of them said, “Well, Ukip have got racist policies”. The implication was that we were racist. '[The social worker] said Ukip does not like European people and wants them all out of the country to be returned to their own countries. ‘I’m sat there and I’m thinking, “What the hell is going off here?” because I wouldn’t have joined Ukip if they thought that. I’ve got mixed race in my family.’
 Staff from Rotherham council in South Yorkshire, pictured, removed the children from their foster parents within a week of finding out they were members of Ukip

Staff from Rotherham council in South Yorkshire, pictured, removed the children from their foster parents within a week of finding out they were members of Ukip

She claimed the social worker said: ‘We would not have placed these children with you had we known you were members of Ukip because it wouldn’t have been the right cultural match.’ The children were all removed by the end of the week, leaving the couple ‘bereft’. The wife said that the children had been loved like they were the couple's own. The wife said: ‘We felt like we were criminals. From having a little baby in my arms, suddenly there was an empty cot.’ Her husband said: 'If we were moving the children on to happier circumstances we would be feeling warm and happy. To have it done like that, it’s beyond the pale.'

Described as 'exemplary' foster parents, the baby had put on weight and the older girl had even started called them 'mum and dad'. The couple are in their late 50s and are former Labour voters. The husband works with disabled people and was a Royal Navy reservist for more than 30 years. The wife is a qualified nursery nurse. A Rotherham council spokesman said last night: 'After a group of sibling children were placed with agency foster carers, issues were raised regarding the long-term suitability of the carers for these particular children. With careful consideration, a decision was taken to move the children to alternative care. We continue to keep the situation under review.'

Joyce Thacker, strategic director of children and young people's services at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, said the three ethnic minority children had been placed with the couple as an emergency and it was never going to be a long-term arrangement. She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'Also the fact of the matter is I have to look at the children's cultural and ethnic needs.  'The children have been in care proceedings before and the judge had previously criticised us for not looking after the children's cultural and ethnic needs, and we have had to really take that into consideration with the placement that they were in. We have to think about the clear statements on ending multi-culturalism for example. These children are from EU migrant backgrounds and Ukip has very clear statements on ending multiculturalism, not having that going forward, and I have to think about how sensitive I am being to those children.'

Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, described the actions of the council as ‘a bloody outrage’ and ‘political prejudice of the very worst kind’ and accused the council of 'bigotry'. He said of the incident: 'Very upset and very angry, particularly for the couple involved, who have been fostering for many years and are very decent people, and the awful shock to them of having these children removed, not to mention the upset to the children themselves. 'Politically, I'm afraid not surprised at all. This is typical of the kind of bigotry we get from the Labour Party and from Labour controlled councils. It was the Labour government that opened the doors to uncontrolled mass immigration into this country on a scale that we have never seen in the history of the island. And then anybody who tries to discuss or debate the issue is written off as being racist.'

Labour have urged the council to mount an urgent investigation. A Labour Party spokesman said: 'Membership of Ukip should not block parents from adopting children. There needs to be an urgent investigation by Rotherham Borough Council into this decision.' Foster parent campaigners have warned that the decision could discourage other prospective foster parents volunteering. David Goosey, the chairman of trustees at independent fostering charity Community Foster care said: 'If this is accurate and there are no other extraneous matters that have concerned the authorities, then it is completely ridiculous and no self-respecting authority should be stopping people fostering on the grounds of their membership of Ukip.'

Ukip’s manifesto is critical of multiculturalism and political correctness. It also urges Britain to restriction immigration and for the country to withdraw from Europe. Recent national polls rate the party’s support as high as nine per cent after previously being considered a single-issue fringe party.

 Source: Daily Mail UK

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