Greensburg, Pa., Nov 19, 2019 / 18:35 pm
Catholic adoption and foster care agencies in Pennsylvania are continuing to close their doors as Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CSS) continues a legal battle with the city of Philadelphia over the agency’s policy of not placing children with same-sex couples.
The Diocese of Greensburg announced Oct. 1 that it had closed its adoption and foster care program, which had been operating since 1954. The Greensburg program also provided adoption services for the Pittsburgh diocese.
“Due to a purely political attack on our ability to perform our adoption work, while at the same time being permitted to exercise our religious freedom, we have been frozen out of the major source of contracts related to these two fields of work,” said Monsignor Raymond Riffle, managing director of Catholic Charities of Greensburg.
The City of Philadelphia received an allegation in March 2018 that two of the Department of Human Services’ approximately 30 contracted agencies would not place children with same-sex couples as foster parents. After the department investigated, it stopped referring foster children to those agencies.
One of those agencies was Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CSS), that had been working with foster children since its founding.
Run by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, CSS has noted that no same-sex couple has ever sought certification through the agency and been denied. If such a couple were to do so, the agency says it “would refer the couple to one of 29 other agencies in Philadelphia—several within blocks of Catholic’s headquarters.”
Referrals are common, the agency notes, and are routinely carried out for reasons including geographic proximity, a specific agency’s medical or behavioral expertise, language needs, or a specialization in pregnant youth or other types of foster situations.
CSS is now suing the city of Philadelphia, arguing that the city’s decision to stop foster referrals violates their religious freedom under the U.S. Constitution.