Court Rules Catholic Foster Agency Not Allowed to Place Children

‘I have never known vindictive religious discrimination like this, and I feel the fresh sting of bias watching my faith publicly derided…’

Federal Court Sides With City Policy That Forbids Christian Adoption Agencies From Helping Foster Children

Sharonell Fulton / PHOTO: Becket

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A federal court of appeals sided with a discriminatory city policy that bans faith-based adoption agencies from finding loving homes for foster children.

Catholic Social Services has worked with foster kids and potential long-term families in Philadelphia for more than 50 years.

It sued the city last year after Philadelphia tried to shut the agency down because of its religious convictions about marriage.

The faith-based adoption agency has never had a LGBTQ couple approach it for services, but the city said that because it adheres to the biblical belief that marriage should be one man and one woman, it could no longer work in the foster care industry.

.

“As a single mom and woman of color, I’ve known a thing or two about discrimination over the years,” said Sharonell Fulton, a foster parent represented by Becket, who has fostered more than 40 children in 26 years.

“But I have never known vindictive religious discrimination like this, and I feel the fresh sting of bias watching my faith publicly derided by Philadelphia’s politicians.”

Fulton said she will continue to fight the court’s ruling.

According to Becket, there are more than 6,000 foster children in Philadelphia. The situation has become so overwhelming that the city put out an urgent call for 300 new families to become foster parents.

Despite this, the city continued its religious discrimination and refused to allow Catholic Social Services, and its dozens of licensed families, to take kids in.

“This ruling is devastating to the hundreds of foster children who have been waiting for a family and to the dozens of parents working with Catholic Social Services who have been waiting to foster a child,” Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket, said in a statement.

“We’re disappointed that the court decided to let the city place politics above the needs of kids and the rights of parents, but we will continue this fight.”