Rotherham Council pledges to establish facts over fostering row and pass on details to Government officials

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AN internal report has been handed in to Rotherham Council chiefs to try to explain a decision by social workers to remove three children from their foster home because their carers are members of UKIP.

Bosses ordered an explanation over the weekend at the same time as the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, called for an investigation.

There has been widespread condemnation of Rotherham Council after it emerged that a couple who have been fostering for around seven years had three Eastern European children removed from their care because the carers are members of UKIP.

The council told the couple there were concerns over UKIP’s stance on immigration and the ability of the couple to meet the cultural needs of the youngsters.

Today Councillor Roger Stone, Leader of Rotherham Borough Council, said: “This morning I received a report of the immediate investigation that was ordered early on Saturday by the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services. Having now listened to the initial report I am now able to set out the way forward.

“As we said on Saturday, membership of UKIP should not bar someone from fostering.

“The Council places the highest priority on safeguarding children, and our overriding concern in all decisions about the children in our care, is for their best interests.

“We have been able to establish the facts in this case as far as is possible over the weekend, and I can confirm that the children are safe and in very good care.

“However, this remains a very complex case involving legal advice relating to the decision in question, particular features of the children’s background and an external agency responsible for finding and providing the foster carers concerned.

“The Secretary of State for Education has asked for an inquiry relating to this case over the weekend. The Council welcomes this. We will work very closely with and give full cooperation to the Department.

“The Chief Executive has this morning invited the senior officials making the enquiries to meet with him and other council officers in Rotherham as soon as possible, so that this information can be rapidly reported to the Secretary of State.

“In order to help the investigation further, we will also make all the facts established so far available to the Secretary of State’s officials.

“The investigation will focus on the information, advice and evidence gathered before making this decision, the nature of the decision itself and how it was communicated.

“This is a sensitive child protection case. It involves both vulnerable children and the foster carers, so the information the Council is able to release publicly is limited by law.

“At all stages however we will seek to be as open and transparent as possible as we cooperate with the Secretary of State.”