A self-inflicted wound: Ofsted, the Equality Act and Cornerstone

May 8, 2020 by

from Christian Concern:

The Christian Legal Centre’s Roger Kiska comments on the case of the Cornerstone Adoption and Fostering Service.

[…] Cornerstone’s struggles are ‘our’ struggle

The truth is that Cornerstone’s history of legal struggles to simply remain faithful to its Christian ethos is emblematic of the struggle of Christians in the public square in general. Cornerstone is a charity which recruits evangelical foster carers to provide loving and stable homes for children with complex needs. Every child is placed with an aim to permanence. So successful has their mission been that Cornerstone has facilitated the transition to adoption for nearly 80 percent of the children it has placed. In the 20 years that the charity has provided this amazing service, there has not been a single adoption breakdown in the organisation’s history.

Despite their wonderful work, and their incredible success, in 2008 they were contacted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over their recruitment policy. This followed the well-publicised closure of most Christian adoption agencies in the United Kingdom because of the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations. Cornerstone was able to satisfy the EHRC that their recruitment policy of evangelical Christian families severed their charitable purposes and was also a key to their success in maintaining such an impressive fostering track record. In 2010, Cornerstone had further issues, this time with the Charity Commission, which questioned why the organisation required its carers to be Christian. They were also able to satisfy the Commission that their charitable aims were consistent with exceptions laid out in the Equality Act 2010 for faith-based organisations. Yet the battles would only continue…

…Finally, in March 2019, Ofsted downgraded its assessment of Cornerstone from good across the board (a conclusion it reached just 4 years earlier), to “requires improvement”, suggesting that it was guilty of unlawful discrimination against same-sex couples.

Read here

See also: Ofsted savaged at High Court for saying Christian groups should keep out of the public square, from Christian Institute

Details of the Cornerstone Fostering and Adoption case from Christian Institute

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