A 5-year-old Christian girl was reportedly “very distressed” after she was sent to live in a foster home with a non-English speaking Muslim family.
The child, who was placed into foster care in Tower Hamlets, east London, had been looked after by two different Muslim households in the last six months, the Independent reported, citing The Times.
Her foster carers had allegedly told her to remove her Christian cross and forbid her from eating her favorite meal — spaghetti carbonara — because it contained bacon.
The girl, who is a native English speaker, was also allegedly encouraged by her carers to learn Arabic. A social services supervisor recounted that the child cried and begged not to be returned to the foster carer’s home because “they don’t speak English.”
Local authorities are required to consider a child’s religion, racial origin as well as cultural and linguistic background when sending them into a foster home.
The 5-year-old girl’s first carer reportedly wore a niqab outside the family home, while her current carer wears a burka, which completely covers her face, when she is out in public with the child. She had reportedly told her mother that Christmas and Easter are “stupid” and European women are alcoholics after being fostered by the Muslim families.
The child’s mother was reportedly horrified by the circumstances her daughter has been placed in, with a friend telling the Times: “This is a five-year-old white girl. She was born in this country, speaks English as her first language, loves football, holds a British passport and was christened in a church.”
“She’s already suffered the huge trauma of being forcibly separated from her family. She needs surroundings in which she’ll feel secure and loved. Instead, she’s trapped in a world where everything feels foreign and unfamiliar. That’s really scary for a young child,” the friend added.
The Tower Hamlets borough council has reportedly made the two placements against the wishes of the girl’s family.
Several MPs have been urged to launch an investigation into the placement of foster children after the case of the 5-year-old girl was reported by several media outlets.
Neil Carmichael, the former Tory chairman of the Education Select Committee, said that he does not think that there is a need for a “wholesale reform,” but he said he believes that the government needs to ensure that foster carers across the country are given adequate support.
An Ofsted inspection at Tower Hamlets council in April this year has allegedly found “widespread and serious failures in the services provided to children who need help and protection.” The children’s services offered by the council has been rated inadequate and found to have an “entrenched culture of non-compliance with basic social work standards.”