Adoption Services Continue
Special Report - July 19, 2011
Three of Illinois’ Catholic Charities will continue their work with the State’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to serve the children in need of foster care and adoption services, while a lawsuit regarding the Charities’ refusal to place children with same-sex couples in the wake of Illinois’ recently-passed civil unions law moves forward. Attorneys for the State of Illinois announced July 18 that the state will reverse its decision to cease referrals of children needing foster care and adoption services to the Catholic Charities of Springfield, Peoria, and Joliet while the lawsuit makes its way through the courts. The announcement was in response to an emergency motion brought by attorneys for the three Catholic Charities asking the court for clarification of an injunction the court issued on July 12.
According to the emergency motion, the court’s July 12 injunction ordered, “that the parties continue their prior practice [of DCFS referring cases to Catholic Charities] under their contracts as of June 30, 2011.” However, after the July 12 injunction was issued, Illinois’ DCFS announced that it would no longer refer new cases of children in need of foster care or adoption services to Catholic Charities. On July 8, the DCFS had also sent a termination letter to the Charities, advising the Charities that it would no longer accept or execute adoption and foster care contracts with the agencies because of their refusal to comply with Illinois’ civil unions law. According to the Thomas More Society, which is representing the three Catholic Charities in the lawsuit, Judge John Schmidt’s injunction “observed that the termination letter sent by DCFS late Friday afternoon to Catholic Charities in Peoria, Springfield, and Joliet had the ‘appearance of gamesmanship.’”
As we previously reported, Catholic Charities has been engaged in a battle to continue offering foster care and adoption services without violating the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality that prevent it from placing children with unmarried heterosexual or homosexual couples. The new law forced at least one Catholic Charity in Illinois, run by the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, to end its 100 year-old state-funded adoption and foster care services because of concerns about the potential impact. Shortly after Illinois’ civil unions law went into effect in June, Catholic Charities received notice from the State Attorney General’s office that it was under investigation stemming from charges of discrimination for not placing children with unmarried couples. That prompted three Catholic Charities groups in the state to file a lawsuit, asking the court “to declare that they are legally justified to continue their current practices of working only with married couples and single, non-cohabiting individuals,” while referring civil unions couples to other agencies around the state.
Catholic Charities in Illinois Fight Back - June 8, 2011
Civil Unions Law Forces Adoption Retreat - June 1, 2011
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