Social services bosses defend case after girl placed with mixed-race couple

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Social services bosses at a London council have defended the way they handled the case of five-year-old girl from an English speaking Christian family who was placed with mixed-race foster parents.

The youngster's case hit the headlines following reports she had been placed with a Muslim family and encouraged to learn Arabic.

A family court judge re-analysed the case on Tuesday - at a private family court hearing in London - and said the youngster should move to live with a relative.

Tower Hamlets Council social services bosses, who have welfare responsibilities for the girl, say staff have "always been working towards the child being looked after by a family member".

"We would like to give more details but we are legally restricted to do so. Tower Hamlets Council has the welfare of children at the heart of what we do," said a council spokesman in a statement.

"The decision to choose foster carers for a child is based on a number of factors including cultural background and proximity to promote contact with the child's family and the child's school in order to give them as much stability as possible. We have always been working towards the child being looked after by a family member and we continue to do so."

The spokesman said there had been "inaccuracies" in reports.

He said the child had been temporarily placed with an "English-speaking family of mixed race".

A spokesman for the Judicial Office, which represents judges, said Judge Khatun Sapnara had re-examined the case at a family court hearing on Tuesday.

He said the judge had decided the girl should leave her foster placement and move to live with a grandmother.

The youngster has not been identified.