Monday, October 22, 2012

Illinois foster children doing just fine without Catholic Charities

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Catholic Charities of Illinois logo

In summer of 2011, a rift developed between the State of Illinois and Catholic Charities when the religious adoption agency decided they wouldn’t comply with a new law forbidding them from discriminating against gay and lesbian couples when considering foster homes. The conflict came to a frustrated but necessary end when the government refused to give in to the Catholic group’s bigotry and instead canceled their contracts altogether.

Naturally, there were concerns that some children might be put at risk when their adoption agency closed its doors. But as it turns out, secular and otherwise non-discriminatory organizations were more than happy to step in, and the transition has gone off without a hitch:

[The Baby Fold adoption agency] is the second newcomer since the state ended its four-decade relationship with Catholic Charities to handle foster care cases. The final cases were transferred from Catholic Charities in November.

“I’m glad to say in the process of transferring Catholic Charities’ contracts to other private agencies, no children were removed from homes, no foster families lost, as had been predicted,” [Department of Children and Family Services] spokesman Kendall Marlowe said.

Foster care cases in the Springfield area are now divided between Lutheran Child & Family Services of Illinois, which has handled area foster care cases since the early 1990s, and The Center for Youth & Family Solutions, which acquired the cases formerly overseen by Catholic Charities for the Dioceses of Springfield and Peoria.

How’s that for a victory all around? The children can still be adopted, LGBT foster parents won’t be shut out, and the discriminatory zealots get tossed aside in the tide of progress. This also serves as a slamming repudiation to any other discriminatory religious groups who think they can put their detrimental beliefs above the well-being of those entrusted to their care without consequence.

I can only hope other such incidents go this smoothly when they inevitably start occurring in other states.

(via Friendly Atheist)