A Christian fostering and adoption agency that faced closure over their pro-marriage stance have revealed plans to expand their work across the UK in an exclusive video interview.
Cornerstone Fostering and Adoption agency were subjected to an investigation in 2008 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), over their long-standing policy of only placing children with committed Christian married couples, after new equality laws came into force.
The agency successfully responded with the help of The Christian Institute’s legal team.
Two years later, Cornerstone faced scrutiny again – this time from the Charity Commission. It questioned the organisation over its requirement for carers to be committed Christians and required proof that such a policy was exempt from religious discrimination law.
Again The Christian Institute’s legal team helped Cornerstone draft a response to the Charity Commission and in January 2011, the regulator gave the adoption and fostering agency a clean bill of health.
It noted that Cornerstone’s requirement for carers to be committed Christians was lawful on the basis that it seeks to provide a distinctly Christian-based adoption and fostering service.
The Commission said: “Thank you for engaging with our concerns and providing us with the necessary information. We would not wish to question the value of the work Cornerstone is carrying out in providing prospective parents for children in need of adoption.”
In this exclusive interview, General Manager Pam Birtle describes how The Institute’s Legal Defence Fund helped keep Cornerstone’s doors open and allowed their crucial work to continue.
She also explains how her own time in care inspired her to set up the organisation.