UK Roma children in care

The Roma are Europe’s biggest ethnic minority, and a substantial number of them have moved to Britain in recent years, taking advantage of the EU’s open borders to seek a better life. However, it’s emerged that a disproportionate number of their children end up in the care of local authorities, temporary foster parents, or sometimes put up for permanent adoption. The BBC’s Simon Cox travels to the north of England to meet some of the country’s biggest Roma communities to find out why.

It is a story of two very different approaches to parenting: The UK, like many western countries, takes a safety-first approach to child welfare. Yet it seems Roma parents prefer a looser, more informal style. Stories of young Roma children being allowed to wander the streets at night, even in bad weather; have helped fuel perceptions among the indigenous population of child neglect.

But the biggest clash comes over what to do even where both sides agree that a child should be removed from its parents: For the Roma, fostering and adoption outside the extended family is anathema.

As the UK battles to keep its public spending under control can current measures to meet their needs be sustained? What is likely to happen when European Union borders are relaxed further still at the end of this year?

(Image: A boy crying in corner. Credit: Getty images)

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25 minutes

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Sat 2 Feb 2013 04:05 GMT

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