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September 12, 2011

Ill. Foster Parents Face Quandary as State Ends Catholic Charities' Role

Catholic groups fighting to retain child-services contracts in Illinois contend hundreds of couples will stop taking in foster kids if the state succeeds in eliminating the religious charities from its adoption and foster-care programs, the Associated Press says.

The dispute over Catholic Charities' refusal to place children with same-sex or unmarried couples poses a painful question for families that have cared for foster children for years through the church groups, the news service writes.

Four Illinois dioceses sued the state after it canceled $30.6-million in contracts over the charities' refusal to observe a new state law on civil unions, which bars discrimination against unmarried and same-sex couples. The charities are appealing a court ruling last month that sided with the state.

The Catholic groups handle about 2,000 of the state's 15,400 adoption and foster cases. A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Family and Children Services said the agency is shifting those cases to other child-welfare organizations and expect to complete the process this fall.