Rotherham foster couple want council apology

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionFoster mother: "I want an apology"

A foster couple who had three children removed from their care because they were members of UKIP have demanded an apology from Rotherham Council.

The couple said they were "bereft" when the children were suddenly removed after two months of care.

They were told their care was exemplary, but their party membership presented a "safeguarding issue for the children".

Rotherham Council is investigating what happened.

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

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said its policies are not racist. He told the BBC's Today programme on Saturday: "We've nothing against people from Poland or anywhere else in the world, but there needs to be a limit on the numbers of people coming into this country."

The foster mother told the BBC on Tuesday: "We have no strong opinions on immigration; we don't know very much about politics. We agree with UKIP in getting out of the European Union. That was our initial reason for joining UKIP."

When the three children were removed, social workers told the couple they could still foster children, but that their UKIP membership "could crop up again... and it could be a hindrance", she went on.

"I think [Rotherham Council] should come out of the dark ages and accept that what they've done, for whatever other reason... they need to come forward now and say to us 'we took the children away... in the wrong way, and we would like to apologise for this'."

'Slur' removed

She also said she wanted the council to confirm that the couple can continue to foster all races, not just white children as they have been told, and that any "slur" be removed from the couple's record.

Social workers acted after receiving an anonymous call telling them about the couple's UKIP membership. The boy was removed the next day, and the girls as soon as other suitable foster carers were available.

The couple, in their 50s and foster carers for seven years, said they had encouraged the children - who are European migrants - to speak their own language and sing folk songs.

The foster mother said they had become attached to them.

"You do love them; you do get to know them and you do get upset when they leave. But because it's a profession, you can't allow yourself to get too attached, but we did get attached. We gave them the best care possible and we treated them no different than our own children."

Mr Farage has said the party could consider legal action against the council.

"These people are now left in limbo, the children have been uprooted once again, heads are clearly not going to roll, and I'm concerned that the inquiry is just a case of kicking the can down the road.

"If we're not going to get redress from Rotherham Council, we'll have to consider other measures.... we'll have to look at the legal route on the basis they have been discriminated against."

Education Secretary Michael Gove has previously said the "wrong decision" was made "in the wrong way for the wrong reasons" by the council.

More on this story