Couple lose foster children over 'racist' UKIP policies
A couple had their three foster children taken away by an English council on the grounds that their membership of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) meant that they supported "racist" policies.
The husband and wife, who have been fostering for nearly seven years, said they were made to feel like criminals when a social worker told them that their views on immigration made them unsuitable carers.
Last night campaigners representing foster parents described the decision as "ridiculous" and warned that it could deter other prospective foster parents from volunteering.
Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, described the actions of Rotherham borough council as "a bloody outrage".
The couple, who do not want to be named to avoid identifying the children, are in their late 50s and live in a neat detached house in a village in South Yorkshire.
The husband was a Royal Navy reservist for more than 30 years and works with disabled people, while his wife is a qualified nursery nurse.
Former Labour voters, they have been approved foster parents for nearly seven years and have looked after about a dozen different children, one of them in a placement lasting four years.
They took on the three children – a baby girl, a boy and an older girl, who were all from an ethnic minority and a troubled family background – in September in an emergency placement. They believe that the youngsters thrived in their care. The couple were described as "exemplary" foster parents.
However, just under eight weeks into the placement, they received a visit out of the blue from the children's social worker at the Labour-run council and an official from their fostering agency.
They were told that the local safeguarding children team had received an anonymous tip-off that they were members of UKIP.
The wife said she told the social worker and agency official: "These kids have been loved. These kids have been treated no differently to our own children. We wouldn't have taken these children on if we had been racist."
The wife said the social worker told her: "We would not have placed these children with you had we known you were members of UKIP because it wouldn't have been the right cultural match."
The wife said she was left "bereft", adding: "We felt like we were criminals. From having a little baby in my arms, suddenly there was an empty cot. I knew she wouldn't have been here for ever, but usually there is a build-up of several weeks. I was in tears." (© Daily Telegraph, London)