Reinstated, the British foster parent struck off for allowing Muslim girl to convert to Christianity
A foster parent struck off after a Muslim girl in her care converted to Christianity has won the right to be reinstated.
Gateshead Council’s decision to remove the carer from the register provoked a storm of controversy after it was highlighted by The Mail on Sunday last year. The carer, who had looked after children for ten years and had a perfect record, was blamed for failing to ‘protect and preserve’ the girl’s Muslim faith when she was baptised, even though she was over 16 and had made up her own mind to change her religion.
Gateshead’s decision was quashed by a court in Leeds last week, prompting criticism of the former head of its children’s services, Maggie Atkinson, who is now Children’s Commissioner for England.
The foster carer, who cannot be named to preserve the anonymity of the girl, said last night that her loss of income had been ‘devastating’. She added: ‘In addition to losing the Muslim teenager, another girl I was looking after was taken back into care. And I lost the farmhouse I rented to look after vulnerable teenagers.’ She said she was seeking damages from the council.
She added: ‘Despite my experiences, I still hope to foster again in the future. I simply enjoy helping young people.’
The carer, a devout Christian in her 50s, was asked to look after the Muslim teenager after the girl was threatened with an arranged marriage and faced violence from her family. She said she never pressurised the girl to convert to Christianity and the council was aware that she was attending a Christian church, but her foster manager became ‘incandescent with rage’ when she was baptised.
Council officials advised the girl to reconsider her decision, and struck the carer off in November 2008.
Ms Atkinson said: ‘The decision to remove a carer would only be made if it were in the best interests of the children. 'I am sorry it had such an effect. I hope that the ruling and Gateshead’s move to reassess the situation will go some way to reversing this.’ [Nasty b*tch!]
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).