A five-year-old white girl fostered with Muslims may go back in to local authority care despite a judge returning the child to her family.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sent to live with the carers by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
But allegations emerged about the Muslim family who took care of the girl, including that they wore burqas, spoke Arabic at home and took away her crucifix necklace.
The family court was today told how, despite being placed in her grandmother’s care following the claims, it is still possible the girl will return to the foster care system.
Judge Khatun Sapnara said the girl is dual-nationality and her maternal grandparents hoped to return with the girl to their country of origin, which cannot be reported for legal reasons.
But if that is not allowed, the girl, a native English speaker, may re-enter the care system.
Addressing the mother’s solicitor, Brian Jubb, the judge said: ‘The mother in her statement says she wishes for the child to remain in this country.
‘I can’t force them [the child’s grandparents] to remain here and they don’t want to remain here.
‘In those circumstances, is the mother saying the child should return to [the country] with the grandparents, or she would prefer the child to remain in long term foster care in this country?’
Mr Jubb said: ‘Her position at the moment is that so far as placement outside the jurisdiction is concerned, she is opposed to that.’
It was also said the child had been ‘exposed’ to domestic violence between her mother and father.
The judge added: ‘The grandmother’s statement describes some highly concerning incidents of domestic violence in the parental relationship the child has been exposed to.
‘I’m not sure it was known the extent of some of those concerns, I’m not sure where some of those incidents are supposed to have taken place, here or abroad.’
The issues resolution hearing today also heard there was an ‘interesting and robust’ defence against allegations about the Muslim foster carers.
Judge Sapnara said the London Borough of Tower Hamlets had handed an assessment to the court which contested allegations about the carers.
She said: ‘[There are] suggestions for example that the maternal grandmother herself is dismissive of those concerns and is very upset by them and in fact has a warm relationship with one of the foster carers, as does the child, with the child expressing a view to wanting to see that foster carer and saying she misses the foster carer and a child in the same placement.
‘There are all sorts of other responses to other allegations surrounding the wearing of the crucifix, whether or not the foster carers spoke English or Arabic in the home, as well as referring to negative comments about Easter and Christmas.
‘It addresses all of those and in fact makes very interesting reading.’
She added: ‘I’m making no findings one or the other about the truth of allegations made against the foster carers, but it seems to me this provides the alternative narrative, if I can put it like that.’
It was said the council will prepare another report responding to allegations about the carer, which will be given to the court.
A further hearing was scheduled for November 3 at 10am.