By Grazie Pozo Christie

Child welfare advocates across the country are right to be concerned after a recent court order allowed Philadelphia to suspend its contract with Catholic Social Services, a faith-based foster care agency. It is yet another example of the growing trend in America of excluding religious organizations with long and proven track records in the field, all in the name of ideological conformity. You don’t have to be a grateful adoptive parent like I am to feel alarmed by laws that put successful agencies out of action at a time when the growing number of children needing families calls for an all-hands-on-deck approach.

Despite decades of successfully partnering with Catholic Social Services, Philadelphia city officials told the agency in March that they would stop referring children to them unless they endorsed foster placement with same-sex couples. This demand was made even though not a single same-sex couple had ever approached the agency seeking to become foster parents. And city officials persisted despite Catholic Social Services’ suggestion that they would refer these couples to another agency, something agencies do for any number of reasons.

The city was unrelenting.

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