A FOSTER-Mother, who was removed from the fostering register by her local authority after a girl in her care converted from Islam to Christianity (13 February 2009) has won her legal battle to be reinstated.
Gateshead Council banned the woman, who had fostered more than 45 children, from looking after any more children after the teenager was baptised. As a result of losing her fostering income, she lost her home and had to move house four times.
The woman, who is Christian, cannot be named, as it could identify the girl, who is the subject of a court order, but she said: “Despite my experiences, I still hope to foster again in the future. I simply enjoy helping young people.”
The girl converted when she was 16, and had made up her own mind to be baptised. The council was aware that the girl was attending church, but was said to be furious when she was baptised. She and another girl were taken back into care.
After she was deregistered, the carer decided to take the council to judicial review after exhausting all other avenues. Her lawyers argued that the council had not taken account of the girl’s right to reli-gious liberty, and had acted disproportionately in deregistering the foster-mother. Gateshead Council then accepted that it had acted illegally.
Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, which had supported the woman’s case, said: “I am delighted that the council has admitted it acted illegally, but I am disappointed it took a High Court legal action and this length of time before they held their hands up.”