Five-year-old taken from carers who were 'not a cultural match'

A five-year-old girl whose case made headlines after she was placed with foster carers who were not a cultural match could end up living abroad with a foreign grandmother, a family court judge has said.

Judge Khatun Sapnara says she might conclude that the little youngster should live with her mother's mother - and she said the grandmother wanted to return to her country of origin.

The judge has decided that the youngster should move from a foster placement to her grandmother's home temporarily pending further analysis of evidence.

Social services staff had assessed the grandmother as a suitable long-term carer, said the judge.

The girl's mother wanted to "resume the care of her daughter" as soon as possible.

Judge Sapnara has released an eight-page written order she made following a private hearing in the East London Family Court on Tuesday.

That document reveals some of the background to the case and outlines stances taken by the girl's mother and social workers.

The judge said the little girl could not be identified but she has named Tower Hamlets Council as the local authority with welfare responsibilities for the youngster.

Judge Sapnara said the case had a complex history and background.

The girl's mother said her family had a Christian heritage but the judge said there was evidence that the mother's parents had a Muslim background.

The judge said the little girl was placed with foster carers on an emergency basis in March as a result of police exercising powers of protection.

She said there had been "no culturally matched foster placement" available at the time.

Judge Sapnara said the girl's mother raised some concerns about the appropriateness of foster carers.

She said social services staff disputed allegations made against foster carers and produced a statement addressing the "cultural appropriateness" of the foster placement.

A guardian had been appointed to independently represent the little girl and had no concerns as to the child's welfare, said the judge.

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