UKIP foster parents demand apology after kids are taken
Rotherham couple at centre of UKIP fostering row claim they've been 'slandered as racists' by council
THE ANONYMOUS couple at the centre of the UKIP fostering row – their identities must remain secret to protect the minors involved – say they want an apology from Rotherham metropolitan borough council for removing children from their care.
There was outrage from politicians and commentators when it emerged on Friday that social workers had taken away three children of Eastern European origin from the couple after an anonymous tip-off that their foster carers were members of UKIP (the United Kingdom Independence Party), which is anti-Europe and advocates tighter immigration controls.
Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday, Joyce Thacker (above), Rotherham's Director of Children and Young People's Services, said: "There are some strong views in the UKIP party and we have to think of the future of the children."
Admitting that the children had been well looked after by the couple, she explained: "We always try to place children in a sensible cultural placement. These children are not UK children and we were not aware of the foster parents having strong political views."
Now the couple, who are in their late 50s and have been fostering children for seven years, have told The Daily Telegraph they want an apology for being "slandered" as racists by the council and are concerned they might be prevented from fostering again in the future.
They asked for "something in the form of a letter stating that [the council] have got it wrong in this case and that it will not be on our records that we have had children removed from our care".
The wife told the paper they were unlikely to have the children returned: "From a personal and selfish point of view, we would like the children back. But we are more concerned with the children's welfare, and we do not want them traumatised any more than they already have been."
She suggested that the three should remain with their new carers to avoid yet more upheaval and distress, adding: "It is not going to be feasible to take these children back. They are the innocent victims in all this. They deserve better."
The three children – a baby girl, a boy and an older girl – had been with the couple since September and the care they received was described by the council as "exemplary". The baby had put on weight and the older girl had taken to calling the couple 'mum' and 'dad'.
The husband defended their decision to go to the press with the story, saying it was wrong that children languished in care while social services tried to match them to families of the same ethnic background. He said: "It is only by us actually doing this that we could help to change things."