Rotherham Borough Council has released the following statement regarding the decision to remove two children from their foster parents, who were found to be UKIP members:
Rotherham Borough Council can today confirm the conclusions of a review of its decision to end a foster placement with carers who were members of UKIP.
Following this detailed review, we are clear that the action taken to remove the children was in their best interests.
However, we accept the impression left following media interviews on the morning of 24th November was that the removal of the children was solely because of the foster carers’ membership of UKIP and the Council apologises for this.
As this is a child care case legal reasons continue to prevent us from releasing further details. However, we know that there are important lessons the Council must learn. As a consequence the Council has taken action to strengthen the way it makes decisions, communicates and shares information.
The Council can confirm that membership of UKIP would not prevent any individual from being considered as a foster carer in Rotherham and could not be a reason for removing foster children from a placement.
– statement, rotherham metropolitan borough council
The Council would again like to thank all the foster carers in our community for the devotion they show in looking after some of the most vulnerable children in the borough.
Rotherham Council has apologised over the way it handled a decision to remove three Eastern European children from foster parents, admitting that membership of UKIP was not a valid reason.
The couple - a qualified nursery nurse and former Royal Navy reservist - had the three Eastern European children in their care removed last November after the council reportedly received an anonymous tip-off about their membership of the right-wing party.
The council maintained that the removal of the siblings last November was in their "best interests," but added that "membership of UKIP would not prevent any individual from being considered as a foster carer in Rotherham".
The UKIP foster couple had already bought Christmas presents for the three children before they were taken from their care. They told our Social Affairs Correspondent Penny Marshall that their political views should have nothing to do with their ability to provide a loving home.
– ANONYMOUS FOSTER MOTHER
We had no discussions whatsoever [with the council].
If there had been some discussion this would all have been prevented.
We would have been able to talk to them, they would have been able to question us on our views...
We want a letter stating we won't have a slur on our records and we also want the issue cleared about only being able to foster white children.
Children are children and politics shouldn't come into it.
– Anonymous foster father
In my mind, fostering and adoption isn't about politics it's about giving care for the children, a safe living home where they can grow up into all-rounded citizens.
It's not about politics... They [the council] should apologise... We need some sort of assurance from the council that it [membership of UKIP] isn't going to make a difference.
A couple from Rotherham who had foster children removed from their care because of their membership of the UK Independence Party tell me their political views should have nothing to do with adopting and fostering children.
They tell me: "We are not racist."
A couple who had foster children removed from their care because of their membership of the UK Independence Party have spoken to ITV News about their "disbelief" at what happened. Speaking anonymously they said:
I just could not believe what I was hearing... and very upset as well.
We feel it's been a slur on our records because if this issue crops up again it may prevent us from fostering certain children, like ethnic minorities.
A couple who said they had three foster children removed from their care because they are members of UKIP said Rotherham Council leaders should consider resigning after failing to apologise.
The South Yorkshire couple claim the council told them they could only care for children who are white.
The foster mother told The Sun newspaper, "These children have now gone to other white, presumable British, couples. The only difference therefore is that these other people are not linked to UKIP".
"We wouldn't have taken these children on from an ethnic minority background if we had been racist".
"In fact the council are being racist towards us by saying that, yes, we can continue fostering - but for white children only", she added.
– Ukip chairman Steve Crowther
The statement from the council says absolutely nothing. They are clearly trying to sandbag the story.
Ukip support the couple in their demands to have the children back and feel that heads should roll.
We also feel there should be a national inquiry to ensure this is not happening in councils all across the country.