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UK News British-born Sikh couple banned by council from adopting due to Indian heritage because 'only white children were available' win £120,000 in landmark discrimination case

04:10  07 december  2019
04:10  07 december  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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heritage because ' only white children were available ' win £ 120 , 000 in landmark discrimination case . parents were born in India, he was told that they were unlikely to be approved as potential adopters due to their ' Indian background', because only white children were available in Berkshire

Video: British - born Sikh couple banned by council from adopting due to Indian heritage because ' only white children were available ' win £ 120 Sikh couple , Sandeep and Reena Mander, make a statement after been awarded nearly £ 120 , 000 in damages after they were rejected by the local

Sandeep Mander in a suit standing in front of a building: Sandeep and Reena Mander, pictured outside Oxford County Court today, sued The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council in a landmark case © Provided by Daily Mail Sandeep and Reena Mander, pictured outside Oxford County Court today, sued The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council in a landmark case

A Sikh couple have today been awarded nearly £120,000 in damages after they were rejected by the local adoption service because of their Indian background.

Sandeep and Reena Mander sued The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council in a landmark case after they were turned away from Adopt Berkshire three years ago.

The couple, who were awarded the damages at Oxford County Court after a four day hearing last month, were told their chances would be improved if they looked to adopt in India or Pakistan.

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adopt a white child due to their Indian heritage sue council for discrimination in landmark case . The British - born couple told authorities that their parents had been born in India. adopters due to their ' Indian background', because only white children were available in Berkshire and the

A married Sikh couple were told they could not adopt a white child because of their ‘cultural heritage ’, the family claim. Despite being found to be suitable adoptive parents after a home visit, the couple claim the agency said they shouldn’t apply because only white children were available .

Mr and Mrs Mander, who are aged in their 30s, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, sued the council for discrimination and their case has been backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The hearing heard how when Mr Mander stated they were both born and raised in Britain but their parents were born in India, he was told that they were unlikely to be approved as potential adopters due to their 'Indian background', because only white children were available in Berkshire and the surrounding area.

The couple, who were described as 'high earners' and earn a number of properties including their five bedroom home, had undergone seven unsuccessful IVF treatments. They have since adopted a child from the United States.

Judge Clarke awarded the couple general damages of £29,454.42 each and special damages totalling £60,013.43 for the cost of adopting a child overseas.

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A Sikh couple have today been awarded nearly £ 120 , 000 in damages Sandeep and Reena Mander, pictured, were told that they would not be approved for adoption by authorities in Berkshire because of their ' Indian heritage '.

A British Sikh couple have won a landmark ruling and nearly £ 120 , 000 in damages after being racially discriminated against by a council through not being allowed to adopt . The couple , from Maidenhead, Berkshire, were told there was only white British pre-school children available for

Sandeep Mander wearing a suit and tie standing next to a woman: Mr and Mrs Mander gave a statement outside court to the media. They said they believed it was 'not just an isolated event' © Provided by Daily Mail Mr and Mrs Mander gave a statement outside court to the media. They said they believed it was 'not just an isolated event' Sandeep Mander and woman posing for a photo: Sandeep and Reena Mander, pictured, were told that they would not be approved for adoption by authorities in Berkshire because of their 'Indian heritage' © Provided by Daily Mail Sandeep and Reena Mander, pictured, were told that they would not be approved for adoption by authorities in Berkshire because of their 'Indian heritage'

After the ruling Mr and Mrs Mander said: 'This decision ensures that no matter what race, religion or colour you are, you should be treated equally and assessed for adoption in the same way as any other prospective adopter.'

Judge Melissa Clarke said in her ruling: 'I find that the defendants directly discriminated against Mr and Mrs Mander on the grounds of race.'

The judge also made a declaration that the council 'directly discriminated' against the couple in the provision of adoption services on the grounds of race.

But she rejected the Manders' claim that they had also suffered discrimination under Article 12 of the European Convention of Human Rights and the right to 'found a family'.

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Sandeep and Reena Mander were rejected for adoption due to their Indian heritage . Officials also told the couple they were better off looking to adopt from India or Pakistan. The pair, in their 30s, were backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and have since adopted a child from the US.

Sandeep and Reena Mander have won nearly £ 120 , 000 in damages from their Berkshire council . A British couple who say they were rejected by their local adoption service because of their Indian background have won their Couple blocked from adopting ' due to cultural heritage '. 27 June 2017.

Sandeep Mander standing next to a woman smiling for the camera: The couple, pictured, told authorities that their parents had been born in India although they were born and raised in Britain © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The couple, pictured, told authorities that their parents had been born in India although they were born and raised in Britain Sandeep Mander wearing a suit and tie: The couple, pictured leaving court today, said: 'We felt there needed to be a change. This is what this case has all been about for us, to ensure discrimination like this doesn't happen to others wishing to do this wonderful thing called adoption' © Provided by Daily Mail The couple, pictured leaving court today, said: 'We felt there needed to be a change. This is what this case has all been about for us, to ensure discrimination like this doesn't happen to others wishing to do this wonderful thing called adoption'

In her judgment, Judge Clarke said: 'I consider that there is clear evidence that Mr and Mrs Mander, who I have found expressed willingness to consider a child of any ethnicity, received less favourable treatment than would a comparable couple of a different ethnicity.

'All of this discloses, in my judgment, what the unknown social worker stated in the very first phone call with Mr Mander, namely that Adopt Berkshire operated a policy of placing adoptive children with parents who come from the 'same background', namely race.

'I am satisfied that race was the criterion by which the unknown social worker decided not to book an initial visit with Mr and Mrs Mander because the defendants have not satisfied me that there was any other criterion applied by that unknown social worker.

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A British Sikh couple have been awarded nearly £ 120 , 000 in damages after they were refused the chance to adopt a child based on their Indian heritage . Sandeep and Reena Mander, both in their 30s, applied to join a register of approved adopters in 2016 after several years of unsuccessful IVF

A British Sikh couple have been awarded nearly £ 120 , 000 in damages after they were refused the chance to adopt a child based on their Indian heritage . Sandeep and Reena Mander, both in their 30s, applied to join a register of approved adopters in 2016 after several years of unsuccessful IVF

'All the evidence points to Adopt Berkshire's refusal to progress Mr and Mrs Mander being made on the assumption that it would not be in a putative child's best interest to be matched with prospective adopters who did not share their race.

Sandeep Mander standing in front of a building: After the ruling Mr and Mrs Mander (pictured outside court) said: 'This decision ensures that no matter what race, religion or colour you are, you should be treated equally and assessed for adoption in the same way as any other prospective adopter' © Provided by Daily Mail After the ruling Mr and Mrs Mander (pictured outside court) said: 'This decision ensures that no matter what race, religion or colour you are, you should be treated equally and assessed for adoption in the same way as any other prospective adopter' a bench in front of a building: The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council offices. The council said today they are 'very disappointed in the judgement' © Provided by Daily Mail The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council offices. The council said today they are 'very disappointed in the judgement'

The laws on adoption in the UK

Anyone applying to adopt a child must be over the age of 21. There is no upper age limit. They can be single, married, in a civil partnership, an unmarried couple (same sex and opposite sex) the partner of the child's parent.

Those applying do not have to be a British citizen to adopt a child, but they must have a fixed and permanent home in the UK, and must have lived there for at least a year.

To adopt a child, they go through either an adoption agency that is part of the local council, or a voluntary adoption agency. They will arr arrange a meeting, and approval normally takes around six months.

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Agency said only white children were available and couple should try to adopt from India A Sikh couple have claimed they were not allowed to adopt a white child due to their “cultural heritage ”. The couple , who are both business professionals, are of Sikh Indian heritage but do not have other

A couple have been awarded nearly £ 120 , 000 in damages after a judge ruled they were discriminated against by not being allowed to adopt a child . The couple sued the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for discrimination and their case was backed by the Equality and Human Rights

A social worker will send an assessment report to an independent adoption panel. they will then make a recommendation to the adoption agency.

Adoption agencies should carry out careful assessments of every child’s individual needs, irrespective of race and ethnicity, to establish which family is best for them.

Once it decides they can adopt, they begin the process of finding a child.

Being denied the chance to adopt a child based on race or ethnicity is unlawful and discriminatory.

If a person applying to adopt has the same ethnic background, it may make a couple more suitable - but there are many factors to consider where to place a child.

Until the Children and Families Act was changed in 2014, agencies were allowed to prioritise a person's race and cultural background above other factors. However, this is no longer the case.

'This assumption was a stereotype which gave race a disproportionate importance as a factor regarding the welfare of children and it was a move away from such stereotypes and reduce the delays caused by attempts to achieve a perfect or near ethnic match between adoptive parents and adoptive children that Michael Gove, as Secretary of State for Education, introduced the 2011 Action Plan and 2013 amendments to the 2002 Act.'

After the ruling Mr Mander, and his wife, who was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, added: 'We believe our experience with Adopt Berkshire was not just an isolated event.

'When we went through the Intercountry adoption process we came across many couples who had similar experiences.

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A British Sikh couple has won a landmark ruling and nearly £ 120 , 000 in A British Sikh couple has won a landmark ruling and nearly £ 120 , 000 The couple , from Maidenhead, Berkshire, were told there was only white British pre-school children available for adoption and their chances would be

A British couple have won nearly £ 120 , 000 in damages after being refused to adopt a child because of their race. Sandeep and Reena Mander, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, applied to join a register of approved adopters but were refused because of their Indian ancestry. The couple were told they

'Let us be clear, a child's welfare is the most important thing when looking for any prospective adopter.

'However matching cultural values and beliefs is just one of many areas that should be assessed when looking at the suitability of adopters to ensure that child's welfare.

'It should never be the overriding factor to stop you even being considered, which is what happened to us.

'And certainly, cultural values and beliefs should never be assumed based on an ethnic tick-box, as was our experience.

'We felt there needed to be a change. This is what this case has all been about for us, to ensure discrimination like this doesn't happen to others wishing to do this wonderful thing called adoption.

'And today's landmark ruling will ensure this doesn't happen again.'

A council spokesman said: 'We are very disappointed by the judgement in this case, which we will now take time to consider in full.

'We have reviewed our policies to ensure they are fit for purpose and are confident that we do not exclude prospective adopters on the grounds of ethnicity.

'Finally, we always put the best interests of the children at the heart of any adoption decisions and are committed to best practice in our provision of adoption services.'

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