UK

Ukip Foster Case: Rotherham Council Admits Party Membership Not Valid Reason For Actions

21/05/2013 09:42 BST
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SOUTH SHIELDS, ENGLAND - MAY 02: A UKIP posted is displayed in a house window on the day that voters head to the polls on May 2, 2013 in South Shields, England. The by-election was triggered after the former foreign secretary David Miliband announced that he was resigning from the House of commons in order to leave Britain and head up the New York based International Rescue Committee humanitarian organisation. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

A council has apologised over the way it handled the decision to remove three Eastern European children from foster parents who were members of Ukip.

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council maintained taking the children away from the couple last November was in their "best interests".

But it also said membership of Ukip was not a valid reason to take foster children from their carers, and the issue was badly communicated.

In a statement, the local authority said a detailed review had found that the action to remove the brother and sisters was in their best interests.

It added: "However, we accept the impression left following media interviews on the morning of November 24 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 children, a baby girl, a boy and an older girl, were removed by social workers after the council reportedly received an anonymous tip-off about the foster parents' membership of the right-wing party.

Social workers reportedly said they were concerned about the children's "cultural and ethnic needs".

In today's statement, Rotherham council clarified its position on party membership.

"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," it said.

In November, the couple, a qualified nursery nurse and a former Royal Navy reservist, were backed by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Mr Gove said social workers had made "the wrong decision in the wrong way for the wrong reasons".

He pledged to personally investigate the case, adding: "Rotherham's reasons for denying this family the chance to foster are indefensible."

Ukip today said it did not wish to comment on the council's statement.