The city of Philadelphia last year ended its contract with Catholic Social Services (CSS) to refer children in need of foster care homes. CSS requires foster parents to be married, or if single, a birth parent must approve.
The Philadelphia Inquirer asked CSS whether they’d allow homosexuals to foster children. CSS said it would not allow it but would refer them to another agency.
The city claimed this requirement is discriminatory against homosexuals.
The service and three foster families sued the city. The Daily Signal reported that an inquiry from the media led to the city canceling the contract. Apparently the reporter asked whether Catholic Social Services allowed homosexuals to foster children.
Lori Windham, a lawyer for the service’s and the families’ legal counsel, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said the media called only religious foster care providers.
“When they did not get the answer they wanted from Catholic Social Services, they summoned their leadership to City Hall, where—after a conversation with the mayor—the commissioner told Catholic Social Services that it’s not 100 years ago, and that times have changed, and that they needed to be listening to Pope Francis.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit this year ruled against Catholic Social Services. Becket reported this week that two of the families have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case. An excerpt:
Catholic Social Services has been serving the foster children of Philadelphia and their families since 1917, long before the city got involved. Ms. Fulton was a longtime foster parent who fostered more than 40 children with the help of Catholic Social Services, and Ms. Simms-Busch is a former social worker in the foster care system who recently decided to become a foster and adoptive parent herself. After two federal courts ruled against them, Ms. Fulton, Ms. Simms-Busch, and Catholic Social Services are now turning to the Supreme Court to protect the agency that has brought so many families together.
“As a social worker I evaluated the quality of care provided by all of the foster agencies in Philadelphia. When I decided to become a foster parent myself, I chose to go through the agency that I trusted the most,” said Ms. Simms-Busch. “The consistency, integrity, and compassion of Catholic Social Services has made all the difference in my journey through the foster care process.”
Photo credit: Becket Fund