WASHINGTON—Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are offering their strong support for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017. The Act would prevent the federal government, and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services, from taking adverse action against a provider that, for religious or moral reasons, declines to provide a child welfare social service.
"Our first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty, is to be enjoyed
by all Americans, including child welfare providers who serve the needs of
children," wrote Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on
Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop William E. Lori of
Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop
James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and
Defense of Marriage; in letters of support to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the
U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate, who
introduced the bill.
Some faith-based child welfare providers, including in Massachusetts,
Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia, have been excluded from
carrying out adoption and foster care services because the providers act on
their belief that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and
father. The chairmen said, "The Inclusion Act would remedy this unjust discrimination
by enabling all providers to serve the needs of parents and children in a
manner consistent with the providers' religious beliefs and moral convictions."
Stressing that the Inclusion Act respects the importance of parental choice,
the chairmen remarked, "Women and men who want to place their children for
adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies,
including those that share the parents' religious beliefs and moral
The letters of support are available online at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Rep-Kelly-Inclusion-Act-2017.pdf