Foster-care and “the religious background of the child”: update

Yesterday, 29 August, we noted the case of a five-year-old girl from a Christian family was placed in care with a Muslim couple. The local authority involved, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, said that there had been several inaccuracies in the reporting of the case: in particular, it rejected reports that the foster family did not speak English.The Guardian reported a statement from the council as follows:

“While we cannot go into details of a case that would identify a child in foster care, there are inaccuracies in the reporting of it. For example, the child is in fact fostered by an English-speaking family of mixed race in this temporary placement. We would like to give more details but we are legally restricted to do so.

We have always been working towards the child being looked after by a family member and we continue to do so.”

The BBC now reports that HHJ Khatun Sapnara ruled yesterday that the girl should be placed with a family member. She is expected to issue an order for the child’s care today. If HHJ Sapnara’s order is made public, we shall report it.


The court has given permission for an anonymised version of HHJ Sapnara’s order to be published. The order states inter alia:

“22. The court has reminded everyone that the general reporting restrictions on reporting public law family cases apply to this case. It is imperative that no information should be published which may, even by way of ‘jigsaw’ information, lead to the identity of the child being disclosed directly or indirectly.

23. In order to allow this case to progress expeditiously, the names of the mother’s solicitor, the child’s solicitor, the Child’s Guardian, the currently allocated social workers should not be identified in any publication.”

In a piece entitled “Tower Hamlets vs The Times“, freelance writer Conor James McKinney attempts to reconcile the accounts reported by The Times and also the Daily Mail, with HHJ Sapnara’s anonymised order.

Cite this article as: Frank Cranmer, "Foster-care and “the religious background of the child”: update" in Law & Religion UK, 30 August 2017,


2 thoughts on “Foster-care and “the religious background of the child”: update

  1. Could there be a difference between whether a family could speak English and whether they chose to speak it, perhaps preferencing their first language?

  2. Pingback: Foster-care, “the religious background of the child” – and inaccurate reporting | Law & Religion UK

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