Mother of Christian girl in foster care was born to Muslim parents
The mother of a five-year-old 'Christian' girl who complained at her child being placed with conservative Muslim foster parents was herself born into Islam.
The child at the centre of what has become a major fostering row is now living her grandmother after a judge ordered her to be removed from the devout family.
But the girl's grandparents 'are of a Muslim background but are not practising', court documents released on Wednesday revealed. The grandmother who she now lives with is considering returning to her country of origin, meaning the girl could be forced to leave Britain.
The mother, who struggles with substance abuse, had previously protested the girl is a Christian and should not have been placed with the conservative Muslim family where she was forced to remove her cross necklace and was denied her favourite food – spaghetti carbonara, according to reports.
Tower Hamlets Council who made the decision to place the girl into care said it did not recognise the claims and hit back at the media coverage of the controversy.
Debbie Jones, corporate director of children's services at Tower Hamlets council, said: 'As a local authority, our number one priority with foster care is ensuring a child is placed in a safe and loving environment.
'Our foster carers are qualified people from different backgrounds, with vast experience of looking after children. They represent the diverse makeup of our borough, which is a place where people of all backgrounds get on with one another.
'Once the decision was taken to place the child into temporary care, we had to find the best placement available at the time.
'While cultural background is always a significant consideration in making this decision, so too are other factors, including remaining in the local area to promote contact with the child's family and for the child to continue at the same school, in order to give them as much stability as possible.'
Jones added: 'We are disappointed with the tone of some of the media coverage, especially given the judge's comments yesterday that reporting has been intrusive for both the child and the foster carer.
'While we cannot go into details of a case that would identify a child in foster care, there are also inaccuracies in the reporting of it.'
Sir Martin Narey, the Government's official adviser on fostering, intervened on Wednesday and said it would be wrong to ban carers from looking after children just because they were a different religion or ethnicity.
He told the Telegraph: 'Skin colour and religion do not matter in 2017.'
A government report at the end of the year is expected to make the ethnicity and religion of carers a 'secondary' issue with local authorities currently required under The Children Act 1989 to give consideration to 'religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background' when making decisions about a child who is in care.