Scottish government pledges to help Catholic adoption agency

St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society faces loss of charitable status after refusing applications from same-sex couples

Scottish government at Holyrood
Scottish government at Holyrood

The Scottish government has pledged to work with a Catholic adoption agency that might lose its charitable status so that it can continue providing services.

The government has voiced concern at the case of St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow, which was warned by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator last month that it had failed the charity test because it was discriminating against homosexual couples.

The OSCR said that the charity would lose its charitable status unless it amended its policies, which say that prospective adoptive parents must have been married for at least two years. It has until 22 April to comply.

A Scottish government spokesman told Third Sector that it wanted St Margaret’s, which completed 22 adoption placements in 2011/12, to continue providing its "valuable services to vulnerable children and young people".

"The Scottish government is committed to equality and protection from discrimination," the spokesman said. 

"It is also our view that there should be room for St Margaret’s to continue its important work. It is in no one’s interests to close an organisation that is providing valuable services to vulnerable children and young people and we want to work with St Margaret’s to find a solution."

He said Scottish government officials were meeting representatives of the charity to discuss the situation.

A spokesman for St Margaret’s said the charity was still considering its position. The charity receives £100,000, about 20 per cent of its yearly income, from the Catholic church and says in its objects that it assesses "the suitability of applicants as adoptive parents… in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic church".

A statement from the OSCR outlining the reasons for its decisions regarding St Margaret’s said that it was one of 36 adoption agencies, 32 of which are local authorities.

The statement added: "Until recently, the charity was the only voluntary adoption body operating in the west of Scotland."

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