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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

And now the good news – we think

Never let it be said that we don't report good news from religious circles. We're happy to announce that the largest Catholic adoption agency in England and Wales, the Catholic Children's Society, have said they will implement an adoption policy that won't discriminate against gay couples.

They seem at pains, however, to stress that the criteria for being able to adopt are still going to be tough. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that, should a same-sex couple make the grade and tick all the right boxes, they will be allowed to adopt, and that this is not just a way of remaining within Britain's Sexual Orientation Regulations, which would forbid discrimination, while not actually allowing a gay couple to adopt.

The Catholic News Agency tells us that the decision, "made by the Catholic Children’s Society of Arundel and Brighton, Portsmouth and Southwark (A&BSP) means the society will not turn away any homosexual couples who present themselves as potential adopters".

Terry Connor, the society's chief executive, has said that such a course offered the "only transparent, straightforward and guaranteed way of preserving our full range of much-needed services for some of the most vulnerable children in the country".

But he says that, should a same-sex couple come along merely to test the system, they would not get very far. "We do not know whether we will actually be asked to consider same-sex couples for the placing of children because, statistically, very few same-sex couples go for adoption anyway.

"We have to give an interview to same-sex couples asking to be considered for adoption. But we are not anticipating we are going to get lots of same-sex couples. It is much more likely that they will go to their local authority because it is the local authority which makes decisions about matching children with approved adopters, not the society.

"We need to make it very clear that the assessment of any adopters is very thorough. It is not about finding children for adults, but it is about finding families for very difficult children.”

Which sounds a bit like "You'd be better off going somewhere else" – but, as I say, let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

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