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For Now, Illinois Must Refer Foster Kids to Catholic Charities

By Nottage and Ward on July 29, 2011

The Chicago Tribune reports that Catholic Charities in Illinois will once again be able to take on new foster care cases, in spite of the efforts of the state to block the group over a dispute regarding civil unions and gay rights. A judge in Sangamon County made a temporary ruling on July 18 after the state consented to permit Catholic Charities to take new cases, at least for the next few weeks. However, the agency will not place children with couples that are unmarried or gay.

Previously, Catholic Charities sued the state over whether they should be required to assist gay couples seeking to adopt or become a foster parent. Then, the agency alleged that the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) had violated an order that required the state to uphold the agency’s contract while things were decided in circuit court. DCFS had allowed close to 2,000 foster children who had been placed by Catholic Charities to remain under the group’s watch and in place. However, despite the order, the state refused to permit the agency to place children in new foster care cases. Catholic Charities sought to keep the cases coming. Additionally, the agency argued that the action by the DCFS was not in agreement with the order from the Sangamon County judge since it did not maintain operations as though the agency and the state had a contract in place.

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Catholic Adoption Agencies Sue Illinois Regarding Gay Adoption

By Nottage and Ward on July 12, 2011

NPR reports that controversy has erupted in Illinois regarding whether faith-based groups should be required to alter their practices and assist gay couples seeking to adopt. The new civil union law in Illinois has put the state and many faith-based organizations at odds with one another.

In particular, Catholic Charities agencies, located in five dioceses in Illinois, had received state funding to offer adoption and foster care services, and would only place children with straight single individuals living alone or straight married couples. Once the new law went into effect, one agency stopped its adoption services, concerned it would be required to allow same-sex couples to adopt or have discrimination lawsuits filed against them. Three other agencies put prospective parent licensing on hold and sued the state. Previously, the agencies had referred couples who were unmarried to other agencies, without regard to their sexual orientation.

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