The biological family of a five-year-old Christian girl sent to live with conservative Muslim foster carers reportedly begged the council to let the child stay with her grandmother, it has emerged.
Tower Hamlets council in east London rejected a number of attempts to move the girl to different families, including attempts to send her into temporary care with her grandparent.
in the past six months, according to inquiries by .
She spent several months with a family who often spoke Arabic when she was with them. They allegedly told her to learn the language.
A social services employee described the girl as “emotional and tearful” because the family “don’t speak English,“ according to council reports seen by the newspaper.
The report added that the girl told the supervisor that the foster carer had removed her Christian cross necklace.
The pair of foster placements were made by Tower Hamlets council against the wishes of the girl’s family.
Local authorities are supposed to consider a child’s religion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background when making decisions about foster care.
A friend of the child’s mother said she was extremely upset by the situation.
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“This is a five-year-old white girl,” the told The Times. “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 council did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said it could not comment on individual cases, but emphasises a child’s background is “an important consideration” in selecting a foster home.