A statement on IPSO’s decision to uphold a complaint against the Times fostering story

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has today published its decision to uphold a complaint by Tower Hamlets Council against The Times’ coverage of a foster case last summer.
The decision by IPSO can be found here.
Will Tuckley, Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Council, said:
“We are pleased that IPSO has upheld our complaint that the Times article was misleading and broke the Editor’s Code on the ground of accuracy.
“We felt it was important to make the complaint to defend our foster carers and protect children in foster care, along with standing up for our diverse communities.
“We always said that, although cultural and religious matches are very important in foster care cases, there are other important factors to consider, such as the child being close to their school and blood relatives.
“Ultimately we have to make the best decision taking into account the foster carers that are available in an emergency situation. What matters most is that we place the child in a loving and supportive home.
“From the start we had significant concerns about the validity of the allegations about the foster carers. For example one allegation was that they did not speak English, even though that is a prerequisite for any foster carers.
“An investigation into all the allegations in The Times article later found them to be unsubstantiated. (This is published here and reported to the Family Court.)
“The independent court appointed guardian also found the child to be ‘settled and well cared for’ by the foster carers. (The court order containing this and other important case details can be found here.)
“The impression given in article that there was a finding against the council’s assessment of the child’s needs in organising the placement was found by IPSO to be distorted information. Indeed we were impressed by the care and commitment of the foster carers.”
“The difficulty in reporting foster cases is that local authorities are bound by legal restrictions. That means we cannot give the other side of the story.
“It is worth noting that had the Judge not made the unusual decision of publishing the Family Court Order because of the media coverage, we simply would not have been able to make a complaint at all.”

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