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Tower Hamlets Council hits out at criticism over Muslim family fostering Christian girl

PUBLISHED: 15:40 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:46 02 November 2017

Tower Hamlets have hit out at the criticism. Picture: Mike Brooke

Tower Hamlets have hit out at the criticism. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Social services bosses at Tower Hamlets Council have rejected criticism following an internal inquiry into the case of a five-year-old girl whose mother raised concern about the “cultural appropriateness” of a foster placement.

The case made headlines after the girl’s mother had said her family had a Christian heritage but foster carers were Muslim.

Bosses at the council say an investigation by one of their senior social workers shows that a number of complaints were unfair.

They say the investigation shows that foster carers provided “warm and appropriate” care to the little girl - although they said findings were disputed by the youngster’s mother.

The case, which is being overseen by a judge at the East London Family Court, hit the headlines more than two months ago.

Judge Khatun Sapnara decided in late August the little girl should move from a foster placement to her grandmother’s home temporarily, pending further analysis of evidence.

She has said the little girl cannot be identified.

Social services staff had assessed the grandmother as a suitable long-term carer, said the judge.

The girl’s mother wanted to “resume the care of her daughter” as soon as possible, she added.

Yesterday, a council spokesman said in a statement: “Although the mother disputes the findings, the local authority is satisfied that at all times the foster carers provided warm and appropriate care to the child.

“The local authority has been impressed with the care and commitment shown by the carers to the child.”

He added: “The local authority does not accept the allegations as made in the national press.”

The council listed a series of investigation findings in a statement following complaints relating to a foster carer and a respite foster carer.

“The child’s original foster carer is Muslim and wears a hijab not a niqab or a burka. The child’s respite foster carer is also Muslim and wears a burqa in public but not in her home. The respite foster carer’s husband is White British Muslim.”

“The mother initially raised concerns about the child’s crucifix going missing. The child is recorded to have stated on two occasions that the foster carer has removed the crucifix. An investigation found that the child had not gone to the first placement with that crucifix... The child had most likely lost her crucifix before she was placed...”

“With regard to the allegation that the child was unable to eat pork / ham, Tower Hamlets found that there had been no rejection of food brought for the child by the mother for religious reasons...”

“The allegation that the child was distressed as the foster carer spoke only in Arabic was found by Tower Hamlets not to be correct... When spoken to by the social worker during Tower Hamlets’ inquiry, the child said they only spoke English at home and outside the home.

“The allegation that the foster carer had made derogatory statements about European women to the child was not substantiated.”

The spokesman said the little girl’s grandmother had a good relationship with foster carers and was angered by “false” allegations made against them.

He said the case was due back in court tomorrow.

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