Below is a press release from Catholic Charities regarding its foster care and public adoption program. As a result of the new law legalizing same sex marriage in the District of Columbia, Catholic Charities was informed that it would be ineligible to continue to provide these services in our nation’s capital, and has reluctantly moved the program to another provider. I have a few comments in Red below.
Catholic Charities Continues 82 Service Programs After Transferring Foster Care and Public Adoption Program to New Provider February 1
Move kept kids, foster families and staff together; no other programs expected to be affected
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington transitioned its foster care and public adoption program in the District of Columbia to the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) on February 1, 2010. Catholic Charities remains committed to continuing to serve the vulnerable of the District of Columbia through the 82 programs the agency operates in the region.
Although Catholic Charities has an 80-year legacy of high quality service to the vulnerable in our nation’s capital, the D.C. Government informed Catholic Charities that the agency would be ineligible to serve as a foster care provider due to the impending D.C. same sex marriage law.
This is the only program Catholic Charities anticipates will be impacted by the law.
With a priority on ensuring continuity of care for the foster families and children, Catholic Charities worked closely with D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) to seamlessly transition the program to the NCCF. This transition includes seven staff, 43 children and their biological families, as well as 35 foster families. The transition was scheduled to coincide with the expiration of the current contract between Catholic Charities and CFSA.
“Foster care has been an important ministry for us for many decades. We worked very hard to be able to continue to provide these services in the District. We regret that our efforts to avoid this outcome were not successful. I am grateful to our dedicated staff and foster families who have been a part of our family. The difference each staff member and foster care parent makes for a child in need of a loving home is immeasurable. I am confident that NCCF will serve the children and families well,” said Ed Orzechowski, president and CEO of Catholic Charities.
We have already discussed in the pages of this blog the whole way the DC City Council forced the issue of recognizing so-called “Same-sex Marriage” through. A few pertient facts are worth recalling.
They refused to allow a matter of this importance to be placed on a ballot for the citizens of DC to vote. Two requests for a referendum we were rejected by the Board of Elections who claim that human rights matters cannot be the matter of a vote.
The DC Council refused to allow religious exemptions to the law that requires recognition of these so-called “Same-sex Marriages.” This refusal was despite being informed by legal counsel to Catholic Charities that it would likely exclude Catholic Charities from receiving any funding from the city in the future and thus would endanger Catholic Charities’ current ability to effectively serve the poor.
The DC Council also imposed a steep time-line for compliance (March) wherein Catholic Charities and other religious groups would have to either comply or hastily hand over the keys. This allowed little time for smooth transitions to other providers. In this case CC was able to effect as smooth a transition as possible but haste in matters like these should never have been imposed by the City.
There will be those who continue to accuse the Church of “abandoning the poor” over this dispute about Gay “Marriage.” But for the record it is the City that has forced this. The Church has never moved. It is the City which has imposed severe legislation with a draconian time line. It is the City which has forced Catholic Charities to choose either funding to serve the poor or its religious faith. It is the City that has done all this. Catholic Charities will continue to serve the poor using monies it can obtain elsewhere through Charitable donations etc. But as a Catholic organization Catholic Charities cannot cast aside its faith just for money, even if that money is to serve the poor. We cannot serve the Poor in Jesus’ Name if we tell Jesus to take a back seat.
Shame on the City for kicking a fine service provider to the curb and even greater shame on the City for forcing this to be done so quickly with no time to prepare either CC workers or the clients they serve. Thankfully for the children and the families involved the NCCF is capable but this transition should not be forced so suddenly. No one is served by abrupt change like this.