Woman struck off list of foster carers after Muslim girl converts

A Christian woman has been struck off a list of foster carers by her local council because she did not stop a teenage Muslim girl from being baptised.

The foster carer, a regular churchgoer in her 50s, has fostered over 80 children and has now been forced out of her home and the farm house she rented to take care of vulnerable teenagers, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has challenged the council’s decision.

Speaking to the newspaper, she said, "I just want to get my life back. I still hope to resolve this so that I can possibly foster again in the future as I simply enjoy helping young people."

The council’s decision has been condemned by fostering charities and religious groups who point out that there is currently a national shortage of foster parents.

The carer said that she did not put pressure on the girl, who was 16, to be baptised, but in fact tried to discourage her. The girl was initially taken into care after being assaulted by a family member. She said she regarded baptism as "as a washing away of the horrible things she had been through and a symbol of a new start."

"I offered her alternatives. I offered to find her places to practise her own religion.

"I offered to take her to friends or family. But she said to me from the word go: 'I am interested and I want to come [to church],'" said the carer.

According to the carer, local social services did not object to the girl attending the carer’s evangelical church, but only acted once the girl was baptised.

Council officials advised the girl to change her mind and stop attending Christian meetings. In November, the carer was taken off the list of carers on the grounds that she breached her duty of care as a foster parent.

Nigel Priestly, acting as solicitor for the carer told the Telegraph, "They consider that in some way she should have taken steps to prevent the conversion."

Mr Priestly has demanded a judicial review into the decision, claiming the action against his client has breached Article 9 of the Human Rights Act, which protects freedom of religion.

He said that the girl is “distressed” that her conversion led to the council's action and that she is supporting her former carer’s case.

The case is being funded by the Christian Institute. Mike Judge from the Christian Institute, said, "I cannot imagine that an atheist foster carer would be struck off if a Christian child in her care stopped believing in God. This is the sort of double standard that Christians are facing in Britain."

According to Mr Priestly, the council has agreed to review its decision. The council, which also cannot be named, has not commented on the case which involves "sensitive issues surrounding a child in care".