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Concerns over foster placement with Muslim carers dismissed by Tower Hamlets

Allegations circulating in national press rejected by investigation

An internal investigation by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has dismissed allegations made in the national press concerning a child who, it was alleged, had been fostered with Muslim carers who spoke only Arabic.

Following an investigation undertaken by a senior social worker from Tower Hamlets council the local authority is satisfied that at all times the foster carers provided warm and appropriate care to the child. The local authority says that it has been impressed with the care and commitment shown by the carers to the child.  This, it is said, is reflected in the child's description and reaction to the carers and the maternal grandmother's positive relationship with them.

Allegations concerning the placement with foster carers, and then respite foster carers, included that the carers spoke only Arabic which distressed the child, had removed the child's crucifix, the wife wore a burqa, the child was not allowed to eat pork / ham and that the carers had made derogatory comments about European women.

The investigation found that the foster carer's first language is Arabic but her husband is White British born in the UK.  The foster carer's children's first language is English and that is the language of the home. It was also found that the child had most likely lost her crucifix before she was placed. As for the wearing of a burqa, the child's original foster carer is Muslim and wears a hijab, not a niqab or a burqa. The child's respite foster carer is also Muslim and wears a burqa in public but not in her home. 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 foster carer had made derogatory statements about European women to the child was not substantiated. Conversations between the social worker and the child found that the child does not know what Europe is.  According to the investigation, the maternal grandmother is clear that this is not something this child could or would have said. All other allegations about the care provided were found to be unsubstantiated.

The maternal grandmother, says the local authority, has been distressed and angered by the allegations against the foster carers which she has said were false. She has a good relationship with the carers and is grateful for the excellent care she says that they have provided to the child. The child has told her grandmother that she is missing the foster carer and has asked the grandmother whether she can have contact with the family.

The mother disputes the findings but 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.  This, it says, is reflected in the child's description and reaction to the carers and the maternal grandmother's positive relationship with them.

The local authority remains concerned that the mother and contact workers were questioning the child repeatedly during contact about her foster carers. Enquiries into this are taking place.

For Tower Hamlets' statement concerning the investigation, click here.

2/11/17