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.
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.
– statement, rotherham metropolitan borough council
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.
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.