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MPs fear fostering rules are being ignored, as details of Christian child placed with Muslims emerge

Tue 29 Aug 2017
By Eno Adeogun

The government's being urged to investigate the placing of a Christian girl with a Muslim foster family.

Several MPs fear the case in Tower Hamlets is not an isolated case and that fostering rules are being ignored.

Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow and chair of the education select committee, gave Premier his reaction to the five-year -old claiming that she was stopped from wearing a necklace with a cross on it and was stopped from eating bacon.

He said: "Guidelines say that a child's religious background and heritage should be protected if that's what the family wants.

"And it looks like in this case… that has not happened…what we need to do is find out whether this is just a one-off example or whether it is wide-spread."

Tower Hamlets council said its foster teams always properly considers a child's background.

According to inquiries by The Times, the child has been looked after by two different conservative Muslim households in the past six months.

It has emerged the biological family of the Christian girl sent to live with conservative Muslim foster carers reportedly begged the council to let the child stay with her grandmother temporarily.

Halfon told Premier the concerns about the case aren't about encouraging Islamophobia.

He said: "The issue also is not whether or not the family was Muslim.

"The issue is whether or not the child's background, traditions and heritage weren't protected and that is the crucial point here and it looks like that this has not happened and that is what we need to look into."

“Welcome to Tower Hamlets” by Mikey is licensed under CC BY 2.0


According to council reports seen by The Times, a social services employee described the girl as "emotional and tearful" because the family "don't speak English".

The youngster spent several months with a family who often spoke Arabic when she was with them and allegedly told her to learn the language.

Krish Kandiah, a Christian author who fosters, told Premier why cases like this are occurring.

He explained: "Because there aren't enough carers, sometimes children are placed in not the best situations.

"The other issue is just the lack of faith literacy. Sadly, foster carers, adoptive parents and social workers are often given very little training on how to understand a child's religious, spiritual and cultural needs."

Listen to Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow speaking with Premier's Alex Williams: 

Listen to Krish Kandiah, a Christian author who fosters, speaking with Premier's Alex Williams: 

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