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.

Is it time you adopted?

For children living in care who cannot return to their families, time is crucial in finding them an adoptive family.

Are you ready to think about adoption? St. David’s is the only Voluntary adoption agency that is both registered and has its Head office in Wales. We have been meeting the needs of children and adoptive families for over 65 years and are especially interested in meeting the needs of Welsh children. In the last year, families approved by St. David’s Children Society adopted 33 children.

Can you help us continue to achieve this high level of successful
life-opportunities to society’s most vulnerable children?

What can you expect from us?

An information pack sent out within 24 hours
An initial visit from a social worker within 2 working weeks
A 3-day preparation course runs on a regular basis.
A professional and supportive service by highly experienced social workers who are absolutely committed to adoption
Ongoing support and involvement both pre and post approval.
If you are interested and want to hear more, we will be delighted to hear from you. For further information pleases contact: Joan Price, Adoption Services Manager, on phone: 029 2066 7007, e-mail or write to us at Durham St. Grangetown, Cardiff, CF23 5DR.

Gerry Cooney.

St. David’s Children Society

Press Release: 13th Feb. 2007. Business as usual

“Catholic adoption agencies are still very much in business. As widely documented over the past weeks, our services are in demand and greatly valued.” This was the collective response of the Catholic adoption agencies of England and Wales to the news that the Government would not provide their adoption services with an exemption from the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

A central message within the debate was that even our greatest critics were prepared to acknowledge that the services provided by Catholic adoption agencies were of the highest quality producing great benefits for society’s most vulnerable children.

The Prime Minister’s expressed his desire not to lose “the valuable expertise of faith based adoption agencies.” He outlined a 21-month period of independent assessment. During this time St. David’s Children Society will continue to provide its full range of adoption services and be evaluating the best way forward to ensure that the well being and interests of children remain at the heart of all future development plans for the agency.

In recent letter regarding the controversy, Archbishop Peter Smith wrote, “We want to make it absolutely clear that our agencies remain open for business and are continuing their work with local authorities. Therefore, please continue to support the work of our diocesan agencies.”

In these past 65 years St. David’s Children Society, has placed nearly 2,000 children for adoption in Wales. This is a significant contribution to Welsh children and Welsh family life achieved with the full support of our bishops, clergy and our Catholic community in Wales. We continue to welcome applications from people of all faiths including those of no faith.

Last year 14% of all children in care adopted in Wales, were adopted through St. David’s Children Society. (The Society is one of 24 adoption agencies in Wales).

If you are considering adopting a child, if you know of a friend or relative who is considering adopting, please contact us at St. David’s Children Society. Tel. No: 029 20 667007, or contact us on the e.mail link below.

“Our Catholic adoption agencies has brought into public awareness the outstanding contribution they make to the common good,” Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor


Gerry Cooney

Sexual Orientation Regulations. The way forward.

Last night the PM announced there would be “no exemptions” from gay rights legislation for faith-based adoption agencies.
The 2006 Equality Act will face a vote in Parliament in February before coming into effect on 6 April 2007. The Commons will not be given a free vote on this issue.
The Prime Minister stated, “The government would work with the agencies to determine how they could adapt their methods to meet the new rules.” An independent team will be reporting to the prime minister on the practicalities of ensuring that the needs of vulnerable children and their adoptive parents will continue to be met both during the transition period and thereafter.
The independent assessment panel will be appointed by the Prime Minister. The PM said, “The transition arrangements will give adoption agencies time to consider and address “how they work alongside an independent assessment of the process to ensure that the high-quality expertise that exists is not lost.”
St. David’s policy in relation to same sex adopters has for these past ten years, been to refer such applicants to other agencies that will positively consider their request. For the forseeable future this policy will continue as it is. The new regualtions place a “statutory duty” upon our adoption agency to continue what is in effect existing practice. This duty will apply until the end of 2008.
Ruth Kelly clearly stated, “local authorities would be instructed to continue to do business with us as normal during this transitional period.”
All involved in this debate, even our most strident critics, have made many positive comments about the high quality services provided by Catholic adoption agencies, the professional expertise of all staff within these agencies, and our significant success in working with the society’s most vulnerable children.
St. David’s is absolutely committed to maintaining its high quality adoption services for children and adopters. We remain confident about our future.
If you are considering adoption and would wish to receive a service that is viewed as highly specialised and of exceptional quality, please consider making an application to St. David’s Children Society.
Gerry Cooney

Adoption is an option!


Adoption is an option!

The week of 6th to the 10th of November 2006 is ‘National Adoption Week.’ Significant media coverage will be given over to this event. In essence national adoption week has a dual focus:

to celebrate the fact that adoption makes such a positive difference to the lives of children
and to highlight the great need for new adoptive families to enter the adoption process.
Last year approximately 4,000 children in care were placed for adoption in England and Wales. BAAF estimates that 40% of these children will not be placed primarily due to a lack of available adopters.

For children living in care who cannot return to their families, time is crucial in finding them an adoptive family.

A recent government paper “Handle with Care” by the Centre for Policy Studies (Sept 2006) indicated that the outcomes for children who remain in care for long periods are far from satisfactory.

50% of the prison population under 25 years of age are ex-care leavers
Approximately a third of all homeless adults are ex-care leavers.
Up to 1 in 4 young females leaving care is pregnant or has a child.
Only 1 in every 100 young people leaving care goes on to university.
80% of the ‘Big Issue’ sellers are ex-care leavers.
It is sad to think that children who through no fault of their own that have lost their childhood, have also been deprived of the opportunity to become an adult who can make a significant contribution to society. All of these children have yet to experience the most basic right to family life, a right embedded in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child.

The ‘Adoption & Children’s Act’ has enabled many more people to adopt. This includes married and unmarried couples, single people, and people over 40 years of age.

Established in l947, St. David’s Children Society is the longest serving Adoption Agency in Wales. St David’s is seeking adoptive families for single children of all ages, for brothers and sisters who need to be placed together, for children from minority communities, or for children who have medical conditions. St. David’s invites those who may be considering adoption to join us in exploring placement possibilities for the 4000 children in England and Wales who are currently waiting to be part of a loving family.

If you want to learn more, we would be pleased to hear from you. For further information please contact Joan Price on 029 2066 7007, e-mail or write to us at St David’s Children Society, Durham Street, Grangetown, Cardiff CF11 6PB, website:

Gerry Cooney
St. David’s Children Society