A COUNCIL came under fire today for breaking up a foster family because the parents were members of the UK Independence Party.
Three children were removed from the care of a married couple because social workers were concerned about their “cultural and ethnic needs”.
The South Yorkshire foster parents claimed they had been told Ukip - which campaigns for British withdrawal from the European Union and tougher controls on immigration - was “racist”.
The actions of Labour-controlled Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council were met with fury from Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who called for resignations over what he said was an “appalling” decision.
Labour urged the council to mount an urgent investigation.
Joyce Thacker, strategic director of children and young people’s services at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, said the three ethnic minority children had been placed with the couple as an emergency and it was never going to be a long-term arrangement.
“Also the fact of the matter is I have to look at the children’s cultural and ethnic needs. The children have been in care proceedings before and the judge had previously criticised us for not looking after the children’s cultural and ethnic needs, and we have had to really take that into consideration with the placement that they were in,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Mr Farage accused the Labour-controlled council of bigotry. Asked how he felt on hearing of the council’s actions, he said: “Very upset and very angry, particularly for the couple involved, who have been fostering for many years and are very decent people, and the awful shock to them of having these children removed, not to mention the upset to the children themselves.
“Politically, I’m afraid not surprised at all. This is typical of the kind of bigotry we get from the Labour Party and from Labour controlled councils.
“It was the Labour government that opened the doors to uncontrolled mass immigration into this country on a scale that we have never seen in the history of the island. And then anybody who tries to discuss or debate the issue is written off as being racist.”
Mr Farage also appealed to voters in Rotherham, where there is a by-election next Thursday to replace Denis MacShane, who resigned over an expenses row, to make their views known at the ballot box.
“The first and most important thing is that this couple get back their status as foster parents and these children are returned as quickly as possible. Second, heads need to roll in the council at Rotherham. And thirdly, the electors can make their own mind up on this in the by-election in Rotherham,” he said.
A Labour Party spokesman said: “Membership of Ukip should not block parents from adopting children. There needs to be an urgent investigation by Rotherham Borough Council into this decision.”
The couple, who have not been named, are in their late 50s and have looked after about a dozen children in the past seven years. The latest placement of three children began in September but was ended after eight weeks over their membership of Ukip.