Rotherham Council apologises over UKIP foster row

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A council has apologised over its handling of a decision to remove three Eastern European children from foster parents who were members of UKIP.

Rotherham Council said the removal of the children in November last year had been in their "best interests".

However, the council accepted it gave the impression the decision was based solely on the parents' UKIP membership.

UKIP membership would not prevent anyone from being considered as a foster carer, the council added.

Membership of the party would not be a reason for removing foster children from a placement, it said.

In a statement, Rotherham Council said it was clear the action taken to remove the children in November was in their best interests.

"However, we accept the impression left following media interviews on the morning of 24 November was that the removal of the children was solely because of the foster carers' membership of UKIP and the council apologises for this."

'Important lessons'

Following the removal of the children after two months of care, the couple, in their fifties, told the BBC they were "bereft".

They said they were told their care was exemplary, but their UKIP membership had presented a "safeguarding issue for the children".

The couple said they had joined UKIP because of its stance on Europe, but social workers said the party had "racist" policies.

Following an internal review, Rotherham Council said it had taken action to strengthen the way it made decisions and how it communicated information.

It said there were still "important lessons" to be learned.

The foster carers in this case were employed by an agency, not by Rotherham Council.

The agency had been dealt with "fairly and in accordance with the agreed arrangements", the council said.

No further details could be released about the case for legal reasons, the authority added.

Neither UKIP nor the foster parents involved in the case wanted to comment about the council's apology.

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