State severs foster-care ties with Catholic Charities
From the Chicago Tribune
The state of Illinois has declined to renew its foster care and adoption contracts with Catholic Charities across Illinois, threatening to end a historic public and private partnership initiated by the Roman Catholic Church a half century ago and displace about 2,500 foster children.
Lawyers for three of the agencies will seek an injunction from a Sangamon County judge on Tuesday.
In a letter sent last week to Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Peoria, Joliet, Springfield and Belleville, the Department of Children and Family Services told all four agencies that the state could not accept its signed contracts for the 2012 fiscal year because “your agency has made it clear that it does not intend to comply with the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.”
Last month, Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Springfield, Peoria and Joliet sued the Illinois attorney general and DCFS for threatening to enforce new policies that accommodate civil unions. The three agencies asked the court to declare that they are legally justified to preserve their current policy of exclusively granting licenses to married couples and single, non-cohabiting individuals and referring couples in civil unions to other child welfare agencies.
Since March, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Gov. Pat Quinn’s legal team and DCFS have been researching the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Civil Union Act and the Illinois Constitution to determine whether they prohibit agencies from considering sexual orientation as a factor in foster care and adoption. In Illinois, all adults who adopt or become foster care providers must obtain foster care licenses.
During a meeting last month, lawyers for the attorney general’s office and DCFS reportedly told Catholic Charities that couples in civil unions must be treated the same as married couples when it comes to providing foster care services, said Peter Breen, an attorney with the Thomas More Society representing Catholic Charities. Spokespeople for the attorney general and DCFS could not comment immediately on Monday.
“We’re not sure what the state is intending to do or how it’s intending to do it,” Breen said. “It’s a surprise. But it’s also very disturbing. The impact on the 2,500 children in Catholic Charities care will be catastrophic.”
First it’s the State telling the Catholic Church who can adopt next, telling your church whom you can marry. The Slippery Slope has begun folks.