The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference supports H.R. 5285, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014, also called The Inclusion Act.
At the heart of The Inclusion Act is this simple question: should our government be limiting the number of agencies working on behalf of children in need?
Instead, should we not be passing laws that ensure as many people as possible are serving as advocates for our children, especially those in the foster care system?
The Inclusion Act is needed because long running child welfare service providers are being subjected to unjust discrimination due to their sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions. For example, Catholic charitable agencies across the country have been forced out of adoption and foster care services simply because those agencies believe a child should be placed in a home with a mother and a father.
The Inclusion Act does not prevent any service provider from participating. The Act ensures that a provider will not be excluded in any manner (e.g., contracts, grants, licensing) on the basis of its religious and moral beliefs. While one agency may choose to place children with same sex couples, another may not.
In 2012, Catholic Charities helped complete over 3,000 adoptions and foster care placements, including permanent homes for over 1,600 special needs or “hard-to-place” children. By allowing a diversity of providers through the Inclusion Act, we will be putting the needs of children first and also protecting the religious liberty of long-serving child welfare providers.