Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence


General background information

THE CATHOLIC CHILD CARE AGENCIESThere are 18 caring agencies and Children's Societies in England and Wales serving the 22 Catholic dioceses. Most of these are based in and serve one particular diocese but two serve larger areas. The agencies vary substantially in size and history and in the activities they carry out. Many but not all are adoption agencies. In general if the agency's name includes the word "children" then it specialises in services for children and families. If the name does not include "children" then the agency also provides some services for adults. However, even this distinction is not a clear one as work with and for children cannot be done in isolation from supporting families and carers, and many projects support people across a wide age range. The services provided for children and families are very wide-ranging and include:

Adoption, both of infants and of older, disadvantaged/special needs children

Post-adoption support

Residential and day services for children with physical, sensory on learning disabilities, and for emotionally disturbed children

Respite care for children with physical and/or learning disabilities

Foster care for children and young people

Family centres

Parenting skills training

Counselling in schools

Child psychotherapy

Crisis intervention and family support, to help families remain together as a unit Individual, family and marital counselling

Counselling of pregnant women and their families and partners

Counselling those suffering from post-abortion trauma

Projects for homeless young people

Work with alcohol, drug and substance abusers

Work with prostitutes and their children

Assisting refugees and travellers

Community development projects usually in inner city areas involving the use of a centre which can be the focus of a wide variety of supportive activities

Help and support of families in bed and breakfast housing

Mother and baby homes and assessment centres

Providing information to adoptees and helping to trace birth families

Origins work with others who were in Catholic care as children

THE CATHOLIC CHILD WELFARE COUNCIL (CCWC)The Catholic Child Welfare Council, which was founded in 1929, is a federation of the Catholic diocesan agencies and religious congregations concerned with child care. It promotes the care and welfare of children and families, co-ordinates resources, provides advice, guidance and training and encourages high standards of professional practices. It provides a forum for its members to formulate common policies and acts generally as a link with and between all the Catholic agencies.

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Prepared 10 August 1998