Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rotherham Foster Parents - What About The Children? Remember Them?

The recent fuss about the Rotherham foster parents who allegedly had their foster children taken away because of the foster parents support for UKIP, really reached hysterical levels.

I wasn't sure what I thought about this, my first reaction was "how stupid", but then I wondered what had led up to this situation. Clearly there is an issue here, it is not just "political correctness", this couple were fostering three children from Eastern Europe and the foster parents were by their association with UKIP, opposed to immigration from Eastern Europe.

Based on what I know (or what I think I know) I do believe that Rotherham social workers acted stupidly, they could have handled this situation a lot better than they did. However, this still doesn't negate the fact that there was clearly an issue that needed sorting out, but to tip up and remove the children at 20 minutes notice, was unfair on the foster parents, but most of all unfair it was on the children. It's the children that must be thought of before anyone, or anything else, especially a political party!

From what I have read, social services received a phone call from a member of the public who were concerned about the children's welfare, if social workers receive such a tip off then they must act, they have no choice. I don't know what the tip-off was about, or what was said, but it must have been something serious enough to make social services act, they don't do things like this for nothing!

Children, even babies are very susceptible to tensions and older children are extremely sensitive to things that are said to them or that they overhear. None of us know this couple and they may have been exemplary foster parents up until the children were taken away, but I know they way they have behaved since is appalling. They as well as Nigel Farage and UKIP candidate Jane Collins have made this all about themselves and UKIP and it isn't, it is about those children¬

Why did they contact UKIP who in turn brought in the rabid Nigel Farage who immediately turned this into a huge political fest contacting all his contacts in the national press and TV and used the children's situation and the children concerned as political footballs? If I had a problem like this I would be more likely to go straight to the top of  social services and the local authority and if I had no joy there I would contact a solicitor to get some professional advice, I wouldn't phone the Labour party, totally ridiculous.

All the while this hoo hah was going on and even though the children have not been identified, some must know who they are, teachers, neighbours, friends,etc. Isn't it bad enough they find themselves in a strange country and suffered God alone knows what, taken away from their parents and everything they know, placed in one place after another and then when they have finally settled, suddenly they are taken away so suddenly? Whatever social services should not have done that, they should have allowed more time, obviously there is a reason why they were removed, but not like that, it was unnecessary.

I'm not over enamoured with the foster parents behaviour either! Why did the foster parents seek to make a really bad situation worse by making such a big deal out of things with UKIP and made sure they got their story in all the nationals and TV and then if that is not bad enough sell their story to the Sun newspaper? They say they a want the children back, but this was hardly the kind of behaviour that was going to see social services returning the children to their care was it? Let's be honest the foster parents got paid serious money for emergency fostering the children and the children were never theirs and they knew it and they also knew the children could be removed with short notice and they were placed with them on a short term foster arrangement, they knew this, so why are they using emotive terms which hey know are wholly inappropriate in this case?

The leader of Rotherham Council, Roger Stone has said this is a complex case and from what I can gather it was a complex case before the children were placed with these parents.  Joyce Thacker who is the council's strategic director of children and young people's services said the three ethnic minority children had been placed with the couple as an emergency and it was never going to be a long term arrangement and that social services were acting under legal advice. Having found out about the foster parents connections with UKIP from an anonymous tip off and already been chastised by a judge for not placing the children appropriately they had no choice but to act, however, they should have done it differently, they handled it incorrectly.

Joyce Thacker said: "The fact of the matter is I have to look at the children's cultural and ethnic needs. "The children have been in care proceedings before and the judge had previously criticised us for not looking after the children's cultural and ethnic needs, and we have had to really take that into consideration with the placement that they were in".

OK I understand that, but perhaps a better idea would have been to have found this out before Rotherham social services placed the children and certainly not just turn up and take them away with 20 minutes notice.

As for Nigel Farage and UKIP candidate in the Rotherham by-election, well it's they who should hang their heads in shame for politicising this sad business, they haven't helped, they have made things a thousand time worse, but I suspect their intention was never to help this couple, or the children, but to use them all for political purposes during their by-election campaign.

As for the foster parents, well sorry if this sounds harsh, but they joined Ukip and the truth is that they are against immigration and their leader is a bit of loose cannon given to ranting and raving about immigration and the UKIP candidate in Rotherham, has been overheard in a racist rant against immigrants herself in Barnsley. If this couple had actually read the Ukip mission statement before becoming members they may not have joined, however, it is a bit too late to read it now as UKIP have taken it down from their website - wonder why?
Anyone who doesn't think that Ukip are not using this sad story for their own political advantage only need look at Ukip website and their campaigning. Gone is any talk of their distasteful anti immigrant policies, gone are their more strident views on racism and in their place is everything to do with this story about these poor little children and it is disgusting. Even Andrew Gilligan of the Telegraph is joining in and trying to turn this into a party political issue when it is clearly not. The council happens to be a Labour run council, but social services are not affiliated to any party and it is social services that made the decision NOT the Labour party. The mere fact that Farage is using this, tells you that he couldn't give a monkeys about these children or their foster parents, all he cares about is getting a few cheap and nasty votes by stirring up trouble.

Time Farage and the UKIP by election candidate, Jane Collins, stopped stoking this fire and thought about the children.  Do they even REMEMBER THEM?