A five-year-old Christian girl in London has reportedly been handed in the care of two different Muslim foster families in the last six months in spite of the girl’s family’s wishes, a report in The Times said on Monday.
Citing a confidential local authority report, The Times report claimed that the child, who only speaks English, was encouraged to learn Arabic by one of the families who were caring for her. It said that the child begged social services to not send her back to the family as they “do not speak English”.
The child, at times “very distressed”, claimed that one foster carer removed her necklace which had a Christian cross. She was also not allowed to eat the food given by her mother as it contained ‘haram’ ingredients, the report said.
According to The Times, the girl’s placement was done by Tower Hamlets, who refused to give a comment on why she was put under care of a family so different from her. Decisions regarding foster placements have to be given after considering the child’s “religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background,” the report said.
“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,” said a friend of the five-year-old’s mother. “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.”
While it is common for non-white children to be in foster care of a white family, a white-child in care of non-white family is far less common.
Speaking to The Times, the Department for Education said it was unable to comment on such a case, however, a spokesperson emphasised that “when placing a child in a foster home, the local authority must ensure that the placement is the most appropriate way to safeguard the child and support their welfare. A child’s background is an important consideration in this decision.”