Catholic Church withdraws from Adoption Society over new legislation

For 65 years St. David’s Children Society has provided a comprehensive range of adoption services across all of Wales and Herefordshire. St David’s is also the longest serving adoption agency in Wales.

Recent equality legislation has presented significant challenges for the adoption agency. Following an extensive period of consultation, legal advice and reflection, Archbishop Peter Smith and the trustees of St. David’s have agreed that if the agency is to continue its good work, it will be necessary to comply with the new equality legislation. However, this will result in a separation between the agency and the three Catholic dioceses in Wales. This change will take effect on the 31st December 2008. The Bishops, Trustees, and staff have all agreed that, in the circumstances, this is the most responsible and transparent course of action. In doing so, St David’s Children Society aims to preserve its adoption services to some of the most vulnerable children in Wales.

Chief Executive, Gerry Cooney said: ‘In complying with the new legislation, St. David’s will continue to provide its full range of services with the same values, the same dedicated staff team and the same absolute commitment to place the best interests of children at the very heart of our work.’

He added ‘To date the Catholic and faith communities have been great supporters of St David’s. Those who give so generously to our charity are aware that we work with the most marginalized children in society; children who have been ill-treated, neglected or abused; children who have lost everything including their birth family. Our benefactors realise that their support makes such a direct difference to these children’s lives. They understand that there is a moral imperative that our work goes on.’

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick chair of the board of trustees said: ‘These changes are naturally tinged with sadness at the ending of a long-standing relationship, but the board of trustees is determined to make the transition as smoothly as possible, and without any detriment to the current high quality of services St David’s offers. It is essential that our work evolves for those children who are currently looked after to have the joy and security of family life as soon as possible.’

Gerry Cooney
Chief Executive

15th October 2008.

The AGM of St David’s Children Society was held at 3.30 pm 14 October 2008, during which the necessary changes were passed by the board of trustees.