UKIP fostering case 'very complex', says Roger Stone

COUNCIL leader Roger Stone has vowed to work closely with education secretary Michael Gove to investigate the case of the Rotherham foster parents who had three children taken away because they were members of UKIP.

Following an internal review by Rotherham Borough Council, Cllr Stone said the authority would co-operate fully with a probe by the Department for Education into the case.

He said: “This morning I received a report of the immediate investigation that was ordered early on Saturday by the Cabinet Member for children’s services.

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“Having now listened to the initial report, I am now able to set out the way forward.

“As we said on Saturday, membership of UKIP should not bar someone from fostering.

“The council places the highest priority on safeguarding children, and our overriding concern in all decisions about the children in our care, is for their best interests.

“We have been able to establish the facts in this case as far as is possible over the weekend, and I can confirm that the children are safe and in very good care.

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“However, this remains a very complex case involving legal advice relating to the decision in question, particular features of the children’s background and an external agency responsible for finding and providing the foster carers concerned.”

Referring to Mr Gove’s demands for an investigation, Cllr Stone added: “The Secretary of State for Education has asked for an inquiry relating to this case over the weekend.

“The council welcomes this.

“We will work very closely with and give full co-operation to the department. 

“The chief executive has this morning invited the senior officials making the enquiries to meet with him and other council officers in Rotherham as soon as possible, so that this information can be rapidly reported to the Secretary of State. 

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“In order to help the investigation further, we will also make all the facts established so far available to the Secretary of State’s officials.

“The investigation will focus on the information, advice and evidence gathered before making this decision, the nature of the decision itself and how it was communicated.

“This is a sensitive child protection case.

“It involves both vulnerable children and the foster carers, so the information the Council is able to release publicly is limited by law.

“At all stages however we will seek to be as open and transparent as possible as we co-operate with the Secretary of State.”

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