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November 25, 2012 permalink
A family in Rotherham England had their foster children removed because of their membership in the wrong political party. They belonged to the UKIP. One reason for the publication of this story is that the press prefers to write about foster families, but real families are more vulnerable. In the future, members of parties losing elections will lose their children as well.
Oops. Not just in the future. Check out the earlier case of Martyn and Toni McLeod, members of the politically incorrect English Defence League (EDL).
Foster parents 'stigmatised and slandered' for being members of Ukip
A couple had their three foster children taken away by a council on the grounds that their membership of the UK Independence Party meant that they supported “racist” policies.
The husband and wife, who have been fostering for nearly seven years, said they were made to feel like criminals when a social worker told them that their views on immigration made them unsuitable carers.
The couple said they feared that there was a black mark against their name and they would not be able to foster again.
Campaigners representing foster parents have described the decision as “ridiculous” and warned that it could deter other prospective foster parents from volunteering.
Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, described the actions of Rotherham borough council as “a bloody outrage” and “political prejudice of the very worst kind”.
Tim Loughton, the former children’s minister, said: “I will be very concerned if decisions have been made about the children’s future that were based on misguided political correctness around ethnic considerations.
"Being a supporter of a mainstream political party is not a deal-breaker when it comes to looking after children if it means they can have a loving family home.”
The couple, who do not want to be named to avoid identifying the children they have fostered, are in their late 50s and live in a neat detached house in a village in South Yorkshire.
The husband was a Royal Navy reservist for more than 30 years and works with disabled people, while his wife is a qualified nursery nurse.
Former Labour voters, they have been approved foster parents for nearly seven years and have looked after about a dozen different children, one of them in a placement lasting four years.
They took on the three children — a baby girl, a boy and an older girl, who were all from an ethnic minority and a troubled family background — in September in an emergency placement.
They believe that the youngsters thrived in their care. The couple were described as “exemplary” foster parents: the baby put on weight and the older girl even began calling them “mum and dad”.
However, just under eight weeks into the placement, they received a visit out of the blue from the children’s social worker at the Labour-run council and an official from their fostering agency.
They were told that the local safeguarding children team had received an anonymous tip-off that they were members of Ukip.
The wife recalled: “I was dumbfounded. Then my question to both of them was, 'What has Ukip got to do with having the children removed?’
“Then one of them said, 'Well, Ukip have got racist policies’. The implication was that we were racist. [The social worker] said Ukip does not like European people and wants them all out of the country to be returned to their own countries.
“I’m sat there and I’m thinking, 'What the hell is going off here?’ because I wouldn’t have joined Ukip if they thought that. I’ve got mixed race in my family. I said, 'I am absolutely offended that you could come in my house and accuse me of being a member of a racist party’.”
The wife said she told the social worker and agency official: “These kids have been loved. These kids have been treated no differently to our own children. We wouldn’t have taken these children on if we had been racist.”
The boy was taken away from them the following day and the two girls were removed at the end of that week.
The wife said the social worker told her: “We would not have placed these children with you had we known you were members of Ukip because it wouldn’t have been the right cultural match.” The wife said she was left “bereft”, adding: “We felt like we were criminals. From having a little baby in my arms, suddenly there was an empty cot. I knew she wouldn’t have been here for ever, but usually there is a build-up of several weeks. I was in tears.”
Her husband added: “If we were moving the children on to happier circumstances we would be feeling warm and happy. To have it done like that, it’s beyond the pale.”
The couple said they had been “stigmatised and slandered”.
A spokesman for Rotherham metropolitan borough council said last night: “After a group of sibling children were placed with agency foster carers, issues were raised regarding the long-term suitability of the carers for these particular children.
"With careful consideration, a decision was taken to move the children to alternative care. We continue to keep the situation under review.”
Ukip was once considered a single-issue fringe party but is now part of Britain’s political mainstream, with some recent national polls putting its support as high as nine per cent. Its manifesto includes a demand for Britain to pull out of Europe and to curb immigration.
It is also critical of multiculturalism and political correctness. It has a candidate in next week’s Rotherham by-election.
Mr Farage said: “I am outraged politically and very upset for them. I think this is the kind of thing where we need some sort of decree from a Government minister that Ukip is not a racist party.
“This is political prejudice of the very worst kind. It is just a bloody outrage.”
He pointed out that Ukip has a black candidate in the forthcoming Croydon North by-election.
David Goosey, the chairman of the trustees at Community Foster care, an independent fostering charity, said: “If this is accurate and there are no other extraneous matters that have concerned the authorities, then it is completely ridiculous and no self-respecting authority should be stopping people fostering on the grounds of their membership of Ukip.”
Rotherham metropolitan borough council’s equality policy states that it is committed to “promoting equality and good relations between people of different racial groups”.
Senior Tories have criticised “politically correct” rules requiring children to be adopted by families of the same ethnic background.
In March, David Cameron pledged to tackle “absurd” barriers to mixed-race adoption, while Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said last year that “Left-wing prescriptions” were denying children loving new homes.
Source: Telegraph (UK)
Addendum: The Daily Mail gives details on the Rotherham foster family. The children are Slovakian, but not the Boórová family in an earlier notorious British foster case.
It's the social workers who are racist, say Slovak parents in UKIP fostering scandal: The Mail reveals the truth behind Thought Police furore - and it's more shocking than it seemed
- Father of children in UKIP fostering row accused council staff of 'racism'
- There are concerns at the number of children being taken away from East European migrant families for adoption or fostering
- The issue is causing tension between the British and Slovak governments
By Sue Reid, PUBLISHED: 00:50 GMT, 7 December 2012 | UPDATED: 14:02 GMT, 7 December 2012
The birth parents of the children at the centre of the UKIP fostering row can today be revealed as a Slovakian couple who have had six of their offspring taken away by social workers.
Last night the father accused council staff of ‘racism’ and of destroying his family as he told how 20 police officers ‘raided’ their home to remove their last four children.
The authorities have also taken the couple’s grandchild (the baby son of their 17-year-old married daughter), bringing the total number now being looked after by the state from this one family to seven. Their ages range from five months to 11 years.
Settlers: Thousands of Eastern Europeans have moved to Rotherham, Yorkshire and the Slovakian couple at the centre of the UKIP fostering row have accused council staff of 'racism'
The parents, who are happily married and came to Britain five years ago, found themselves at the centre of national controversy after the staunchly Labour council in Rotherham, Yorkshire, discovered that it had sent three of their removed children to live with a foster couple who are UKIP members.
The furore blew up when social workers abruptly moved the children from the foster couple because they considered that their support of the anti-EU party, which attracted nearly one million votes at the last election, made them incapable of fulfilling the East European youngsters’ ‘cultural and ethnic needs’.
The astonishing decision was attacked by MPs from all political parties, and Rotherham social services were accused of acting like ‘Thought Police’.
Ironically, the council has also been criticised for failing to protect scores of young girls, some in care, who have been sexually abused by street grooming gangs, mainly of Pakistani heritage.
UKIP claimed the Slovak children’s removal from loving foster parents — who said they grew fond of the three and had bought them Christmas presents — was for blatant political reasons.
Now, the Mail can tell the story of the children’s birth parents — and reveal growing concerns at the number of children being taken away from Eastern European migrant families for adoption or fostering, at increasing expense to the state. The issue is causing rising tension between the British and Slovak governments.
Through friends, the parents of the Rotherham children say the irony is that despite the council’s fears of the UKIP foster couple being racist, it is the council which has picked on them because they are Roma, and social workers disapprove of their non-British ‘lifestyle’.
The Slovak father told friends: ‘It is the social services who have been racist against my family.’
However, social services are standing by their original decision to remove the Slovak couple’s first two children, made after one of their sons was found wandering the streets of Rotherham at two in the morning shortly after they came to Britain. The council then took their newly born grandchild into care this summer.
The remaining four children were seized in September when social workers deemed the family’s small terrace house was ‘overcrowded’ and infested with mice, said the father.
Social workers claim there are other concerns about the family, including suspicions that the father had physically abused some of the children. He, and their mother, have denied this.
Over the past five years since the EU’s borders were opened, more than 3,500 Eastern Europeans (including many Slovak and Czech Roma) have settled in Rotherham.
The council has encouraged them to adopt British ways by sending their children to school, putting them to bed on time rather than letting them play out on the streets and not smacking or hitting them as a punishment.
But, according to neighbours, the Slovak family’s children were happy and there were photos lovingly displayed around the house of them smiling and laughing.
Whatever the merits of the social services’ actions, the 46-year-old father is angry at the way his children have been separated from each other by the authorities and the brutal manner in which they were removed. The last ‘raid’ on their home saw council staff and police hustle the children into cars as they screamed for their 34-year-old mother, who was left crying in the street. Neighbours who comforted her said the scene they witnessed was ‘appalling cruelty to an ordinary family’.
The father says: ‘What has happened has broken my wife’s heart. She has talked of killing herself since her children were taken away. I would like to leave Britain, but I cannot desert my six children who are living in different groups with strangers.’
His married daughter, who has her own home in Yorkshire, said: ‘I have not seen my own baby boy since he was taken from me at a month old this summer.’
She insists her child was removed because she is Slovakian and the council disapproved of her lifestyle. ‘This was my first child and I looked after him well. The council said they wanted to assess how I cared for him when he was born because I am a teenage mother. They did so for a month, and then took him away against my will,’ the mother told a Slovakian TV reporter.
Neither she nor her parents can be named in order to protect the identity of their children.
The father of the six children has told friends: ‘I love all my children and would never hurt them. I came to Britain to work and make a better life for my sons and daughters. I never believed this could have happened to us.’
He has complained that he and his wife are allowed to visit their children only at a contact centre under supervision of social workers. It is believed they saw some of the children taken in September for the first time last week.
The couple first realised their own three children were at the centre of the ‘UKIP row’ when told by their lawyer a few days ago.
The fostering row and subsequent public outrage helped UKIP score its best-ever by-election result — coming second in last week’s poll in the staunchly socialist seat of Rotherham.
It’s clear that many of the local community are aware of the family involved. ‘We are scared that our own children will be the next ones taken by the social services,’ said one woman with a baby as she joined a group of other Slovaks at a social centre. The Eastern European community in Rotherham has held emotional meetings about the social services’ actions. Some Slovaks and Czechs claim that children are being removed on ‘any excuse’ to give to English parents for adoption.
The Slovak father, a handsome and articulate man, was contacted for comment by a Slovakian television station after his first two children were taken.
The TV station asked him to take part in a talk show highlighting how more than 120 children from 40 Slovakian families have been put into care by social workers in England. Some have been adopted and will never see their parents again.
However, the father refused to do so, hoping that he would get his children back. Indeed, he says he has been told he faces jail if he talks to the Press.
Meanwhile, the Slovakian Government has protested to the British authorities about the huge numbers of Slovak children being put into care by social workers, and last Friday a debate at the Council of Europe, which promotes human rights in all European countries, centred on the scandal.
A resolution was passed that said children are being removed by UK social services and family courts ‘against the will’ of their natural parents and in violation of the ‘right to respect of family life’ and the ‘principle of fair trial’.
It insisted that social workers should give ‘practical assistance’ to families in difficulties instead of their children being put into care which caused ‘irreversible damage’ to the entire family.
A sign of the diplomatic tensions between Slovakia and Britain came in September, when protesters filled the street outside the British embassy in the Slovak capital of Bratislava, waving placards saying ‘Stop legal kidnapping’ and ‘Britain thief of children’.
The demonstration coincided with a hearing at London’s Court of Appeal in which a Slovak grandmother — supported by the country’s authorities — pleaded for the return of her two young grandsons, who were seized from their parents in Britain two years ago after one of the boys was found to have a rash on his genitals.
Suspicions that he had been abused were later ruled out, but the boys have still not been returned to the family by Surrey Council social workers.
In another case this autumn, Slovak officials attended a court hearing in Kent that ended with five children being sent back to their extended family in Slovakia after being taken by social workers because their parents left them unsupervised while working night shifts.
The family courts operate in strict secrecy to protect the identities of the children involved. It means that evidence given by social workers and their hired medical experts cannot be publicly challenged.
Parents who talk publicly about what happens there — even to their MPs — have been sent to prison.
Last night John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP who has questioned the courts’ secrecy and why 500 English children of all backgrounds are taken into care every week, said: ‘Few realise how many Eastern European children are being taken away by social services.
‘Of course, this has long been happening to English families. But many parents are innocent and do not deserve to lose their children.
‘It will be costing Rotherham Council £40,000 a year for each of the seven children they have taken in this case — a total of nearly £300,000 a year. The council has complained it is short of money.
‘If it feels there is something wrong with these Slovakian parents, why don’t they send the family back to Slovakia where the authorities there can judge for themselves? They will understand their culture and lifestyle.’
The UKIP-supporting foster couple refused to comment when the Mail told them that six children, plus a grandchild, had been taken from the Slovak parents.
Rotherham Council has said it will not comment on any individual cases of children it removes from families into care.
Source: Daily Mail
Addendum A blog post by UKIP candidate David Gale gives social workers reason to fear his party.
Kids for Cash Court Scandal
Judges will go to jailJudges and lawyers will go to jail if a new Police Commissioner has his way.
David Gale, UKIP’s candidate to become Derbyshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner, is setting out his stall to tackle what he says is corruption and criminality within the family justice system. Accusing judges and lawyers of routine involvement in perverting the course of justice, Gale says that where parents are encouraged to fabricate allegations and the court turns a blind-eye, there must be a formal criminal investigation.
Gale, who led a ground-breaking project to enable information sharing across agencies to protect vulnerable children, claims to have inside information: “I am shocked that professionals dealing with children are hushing up the wholesale abuse of the family justice system.”
Gale said, “I’ve received detailed accounts from professionals and parents both in Derby and further afield that large parts of the family justice system are being run like an organised crime racket. There is an epidemic of mothers being advised by their lawyers that if they make false statements against partners attesting to domestic violence they will be fast-tracked to legal aid, will be able to testify unopposed to gain a Non-Molestation Order, and will not be held to account even if their perjury is uncovered. Women are being advised of this legal mechanism as a means of severing the relationship between a father and his children.”
“Judges are routinely turning a blind-eye to uncorroborated, fabricated witness statements made by women seeking to abuse the legal process. The family law industry’s lawyers are milking this for all it’s worth, with judges in some cases allocating completely unnecessary court hearings that ramp up costs, acting like brokers in an insidiously corrupt scam that defrauds the public purse.”
Gale continued, “I will make it clear that the current response from police when presented with evidence of perjury ‘that it is a court matter’ will not wash. If evidence of a criminal offence committed within civil proceedings is presented to Derbyshire Constabulary officers, they will investigate it thoroughly. Those guilty of perjury should expect to go to jail, along with lawyers or judges who have participated in perverting the course of justice. It’s been eighteen months since Christopher Booker exposed the reality of the family justice system, citing it as “callous, corrupt and staggeringly expensive”. I see no evidence to suggest that the problems are isolated to just Children’s Services.”
“Increasingly, we’re seeing adolescent boys being left fatherless with positive male role-models being replaced in some cases by gang culture. There is a significant on-going cost to the public purse that continues long after unscrupulous legal professionals have dipped their snouts into the legal aid trough.”
“It isn’t the politically correct thing to do to identify women as potentially being the instigators of an abuse of domestic violence legislation but telling it like it is is not about being part of a popularity contest. I will have an amnesty for those women who come forward to testify on their lawyers’ illegal advice but I have a duty to the people of Derbyshire to root out this institutionalised corruption once and for all.”
Source: David Gale blog, November 12, 2012
Addendum Six months later Rotherham issues what it says is an apology, highly limited since it does not identify the family receiving the apology and they still claim to have acted in the best interest of the child.
Council which removed foster children after parents' Ukip membership was discovered finally apologises seven months on
- Social workers took three Eastern European children away in November
- Rotherham council originally said couple's affiliation with right-wing group meant they opposed 'multiculturalism'
- It has now back-tracked saying reason for action was badly communicated
- 'The council can confirm that membership of Ukip would not prevent any individual from being considered as a foster carer'
- But council insists decision was still in the children's 'best interests'
A council has finally apologised over the way it handled a decision to remove three Eastern European children from foster parents who were members of Ukip.
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council maintained that the removal of the siblings last November was in their 'best interests'.
But it also said membership of the UK Independence Party 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'.
The head of children’s services in Rotherham defended the decision, saying that their affiliation to Ukip meant they opposed ‘multiculturalism.’
Joyce Thacker, Rotherham Borough Council’s director of children and young people’s services, said the children’s ‘cultural and ethnic needs’ did not fit with the parent’s ‘strong views.’
But 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.'
The birth parents of the three children were later revealed to be a Slovakian couple who have had six of their offspring taken away by social workers.
The father accused council staff of 'racism' and of destroying his family as he told how 20 police officers ‘raided’ their home to remove their last four children.
He claimed social workers picked on the family because they are Roma and disapproved of their non-British 'lifestyle'.
As reported in the Daily Mail in December, the Slovak father told friends: 'It is the social services who have been racist against my family.'
The foster parents said they were planning legal action after their foster agency said the council had accused them of leaking information to the press about the children and their birth parents.
They told the Guardian in December: 'If Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council are accusing us of a breach of confidentiality and do not issue a formal apology in order to clear our name we may be forced to seek legal action to protect our future as foster parents.'
Ukip today said it did not wish to comment on the council's statement.
Source: Daily Mail