Foster carer v Gateshead Council

A foster carer with 10 years’ experience won a legal battle with her local council with the help of The Christian Institute. The carer had been struck off when a Muslim girl in her care converted to Christianity.

The woman was banned from fostering by Gateshead Council in November 2008 for failing to prevent the teenager from getting baptised. The girl was aged 16 at the time and had made up her own mind to change religion.

Gateshead’s decision to deregister the foster carer was quashed by the High Court after the council admitted it had acted unlawfully.
The council had wanted the girl to stay away from church for six months and said that the girl should take part in ‘normal’ teenage activity.

The carer, a churchgoer in her 50s who has fostered more than 45 children, brought a Judicial Review against the Council after she had exhausted every other available remedy. Her lawyers said the council had failed to take account of the girl’s right to religious liberty and had acted disproportionately in deregistering the foster carer.

“I am grateful for the backing of the Newcastle based Christian Institute who supported me at what has been a very difficult time in my life. If other people of faith in positions of responsibility find themselves in a similar situation, they should not be frightened of standing up for what they believe.” Foster carer


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