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30th August, 2017

Penny Appeal’s Adoption & Fostering Manager urges potential fostering families not to be ‘deterred’ by Times article

Fostering article viewed with ‘great deal of scepticism’ in professional circles


In wake of The Times’ article published on Monday 28th of August, entitled 'Christian child forced into Muslim foster care', Penny Appeal’s Adoption and Fostering Manager, Tay Jiva has urged any potential foster families not to be ‘deterred’ by the potential negative influence of the article which has had its accuracy brought into question.


Speaking to Nomia Iqbal on the BBC’s Asian Network’s Big Debate show, Tay was keen to underline the way in which the article had been viewed in professional fostering and adoption quarters, saying, “The majority of experienced social workers and foster carers are going to view this article with great scepticism.”


The article, which leads with an evocative headline, by contrasting the two religions in an opening salvo that eschews concrete evidence from a situation in which many factors ‘allegedly occurred’, deigns to paint fostering and adoption in a negative light in Britain. Tay explains that this is not the case. In any fostering and adoption case, she was keen to highlight an exhaustive process that comes before any approved adoption or fostering of a child. She Said, “We assess any applicants for fostering and adoption, before referring them onto 600 adoption and fostering advisors who will also carry out ‘layers’ of their own checks.”


Tay also discussed with Nomia the use of the word ‘allegedly’ in the article, “the key thing to bear in mind for this article is allegedly, a lot of this is allegedly”. This sentiment seems to resonate in other areas of the media, as the Guardian reports that “the five-year-old had in fact been placed with an English-speaking family of mixed race.” And the council responsible for the placement, Tower Hamlets, also confirmed that there were ‘errors’ in the original reporting of the ‘highly sensitive’ case, which was initially only a ‘temporary’ measure, the council confirms.


Brought into question most vividly is the difference in language between the child and their fosterers, this issue has been highlighted by the article in a case that is said to be unusual, and highly irregular in foster care in Britain. Tay explains that “one of the questions on our assessment is about language, it’s about English, do both applicants speak English reasonably well? If either applicant doesn’t speak English well, then we suggest to them that they need to learn English to a good enough standard to engage in training.” She went on to say that, “for fostering and adoption there’s comprehensive assessments and training, it’s rigorous and detailed, to engage in that your English has to be reasonably good.”


On the BBC Asian Network station, Tay went on to say that, she understood why people might be deterred from fostering and adoption, “the reason people might be put off is because it adds fuel to the fire of discrimination.” And although such incidents should be reported, perhaps reporting it to the proper institutions would be more prudent, due to the sensitivity of the case. “Absolutely, it should be reported. Does it need to be reported to The Times? No. It needs to be reported to social care.”

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