Memorandum from Jim Richards, the Catholic Children's Society (Westminster) - INTRODUCTION

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at on 21 November 2001.

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The Catholic Children's Society (Westminster) is a broad-based childcare agency, founded in 1859, which operates within the Diocese of Westminster. We work with all faiths and those with none. Our area of operation comprises London north of the Thames, Hertfordshire and in respect of adoption, Essex.

We have a very long experience in adoption both with regards children in care referred to us by local authorities and placed in families whom we have assessed and though now a lesser part of our work, babies voluntarily placed with us by their often young parents for adoption. In addition, we are heavily involved in the counselling of adults affected by adoption. We help both adult adoptees, as well as birth relatives, acting, when requested as intermediaries between parties when appropriate.