After decades of helping to place children in foster homes, Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, announced on November 14 that it would be transferring all of its current cases to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Across the state, Catholic Charities and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency in Wheaton found that they would no longer be able to continue playing a role in placing children in foster care because the state government was going to require them to place children in the homes of same-sex couples — a practice that both Roman Catholics and Evangelicals believe to be contrary to their faith.
The exit of Catholic Charities and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency from Illinois’ foster care system will have a significant impact on the nature of foster care in that state and will have an immediate effect on hundreds of families. As Manya Brachear wrote for the Chicago Tribune:
A day after Catholic Charities across Illinois ended its historic partnership with the state, Evangelical Child and Family Agency in Wheaton confirmed that the state did not renew its foster care contract, forcing the transfer of 242 children, 185 families and most of the agency's staff to child welfare agencies in Chicago, Wheaton and Rockford.
"We hope Christian families will not be dissuaded from pursuing foster care because the state is no longer willing to contract with us as faith-based agencies," said Ken Withrow, executive director of the Wheaton agency.
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