Home of the Guardian Angel ceases adoption program
The Home of the Guardian Angel in Halifax is giving up its adoption placement program after 125 years.
Donna Williamson, the executive director of the Home of the Guardian Angel, said times have changed and there is not enough money to keep the program going.
"Funding for a not-for-profit agency is crucial and we just don't have the sustainable funding to keep the program running," she said Tuesday.
"We want to focus on the programs that are really growing at our centre and that are much needed."
As a shelter and counselling service for pregnant women, the Home of the Guardian Angel used to place 50 to 80 adopted children each year in the 70s and 80s.
Williamson said in the six years she has been with the organization, that number has gone down to between one and 10 children placed each year.
As of April 13, all responsibility for adoption placement and counselling will be transferred to the provincial Department of Community Services.
"It was a very difficult decision for us, a very emotional decision because we've been doing it for 125 years. We think we do it really well," said Williamson.
"It's a different experience, it's a very intimate experience when you come through the Home of the Guardian Angel as opposed to the province of Nova Scotia."
All adoptions handled at the organization are voluntary placements, while the Department of Community Services must deal with custody issues and adoptions that are not always voluntary.
That gave pregnant women who came to the Home of the Guardian Angel the freedom to choose their baby's adoptive family while being counselled through the selection process.
"The birth family is in control," said Williamson.
"They have that control component of who their baby is placed with and whether or not they choose to have an open or closed or semi-open adoption is all in their hands."
Williamson said the organization is hoping to work with the Department of Community Services to continue to support women through their post-placement and post-adoption services.
The Home of the Guardian Angel began under the authority of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax in 1887 and has operated as a community-based agency since 1970 with the help of the Sisters of Charity.
A single-parent centre in Spryfield was started in 1980, which is currently the Chebucto Family Resource Centre.