BY Martin Dunlop | January 31 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

1A-ST-MARGARET'S-ADOPTION

Scottish Catholic adoption society wins legal victory

St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society, Glasgow, wins appeal to keep its charitable status, setting legal precedent

The community of St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society has reacted with joy and relief after the Scottish Charity Appeal Panel today ruled that the agency can keep its charitable status and continue to operate.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, president of St Margaret’s, said the community is ‘grateful’ for the ‘wise decision.’

In a unanimous ruling, the Scottish Charity Appeal Panel decided in favour of the Glasgow-based adoption agency, and overturned a ruling by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), that St Margaret’s must lose its charitable status because it is a specialist service.

Responding to today’s decision, Archbishop Tartaglia said ‘it means that families who are ready to adopt can look forward to the future with a little more serenity, and children in great need can be placed into loving homes.’

“St Margaret’s is a small agency which does great work for the wider community and helps transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in society,” the archbishop said. “It would have been a great pity if it had been forced to close.”

OSCR had ruled against the charity, named among the top three in its category at last year’s British Association for Adoption and Fostering awards, last March after a complaint by the National Secular Society. The regulator ruled that St Margaret’s constitution—which states that the agency is established ‘to assess the suitability of applicants as adoptive parents in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church’—did not provide ‘public benefit’ and, therefore, it should be removed from the Charities Register.

A spokesman for St Margaret’s said that today’s appeal overturning OSCR’s decision has come as a welcome boost for the society, which has been operating under a cloud of uncertainty in recent years.

“We are delighted and relieved that the threat hanging over us has been lifted,” the spokesman said. “Our only wish is to continue to do the good work for which we have been recognised by the authorities, of placing children in need of families with loving parents.”

The society carried on with its vital work throughout the legal challenges to its status and recently relocated to new premises in Glasgow.

The work of Catholic charities and agencies has been threatened in recent years by equality legislation.

 

—martin@sconews.co.uk

 

 

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