Catholic Social Services sues city for right to place foster children

Agency denied placing children with same-sex couples

Pat Loeb
May 18, 2018 - 12:49 pm



PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has sued the city in response to the city's decision to stop placing foster children through Catholic Social Services. 

The city took action because the agency would not place children with same-sex couples. 

The suit claims the city's action violates religious freedom protections.

The Becket Fund, a religious liberty law center, filed the suit on behalf of Catholic Social Services and several of its foster parents whose homes, the suit says, are sitting empty while the city is in a foster care crisis. 

"Despite a foster care crisis," the suit says, "Philadelphia has decided to prioritize political grandstanding over the needs of children" by ending intake to Catholic Social Services.

The suit charges that the city has targeted the agency because of personal animosity toward the church teaching against same-sex marriage, as Rick Hinshaw from the Catholic League described it.

"This is a determination to bring the church to heel, to make the church participate in acceptance of what the church teaches to be wrong," he said. "The church is being put in a position of abandoning either its moral teachings or its commitment of service to children."

The city declined comment on the case, but Heather Keifer from the Department of Human Services said the city ended intake to the agency to assure services are provided without discrimination.

"Catholic Social Services works on the city's behalf and we can't allow discrimination against qualified couples," she added. "We appreciate the services Catholic Social Services provides on the city's behalf, but it's also really important that services are provided in a non-discriminatory manner."

The suit seeks an immediate injunction, but no hearing date has been set.