Catholic Foster Care in Court, by Elizabeth Kirk

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*Image: The Appearance of the Artist’s Family by Marc Chagall, 1947 [Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, France]

By Elizabeth Kirk, The Catholic Thing, Nov. 4, 2020

Elizabeth Kirk, a new contributor, is a research associate at The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, where she focuses on child welfare and adoption law and policy.

Elizabeth KirkNovember is National Adoption Month. So, it is fitting that today the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case to determine whether religious foster care and adoption agencies may continue to serve vulnerable children and families as they have done in this country since before its founding.

That case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, arose in 2018 when the City of Philadelphia stopped allowing foster children to be placed with families who work with Catholic Social Services (CSS) and refused to renew its contract unless CSS abandoned its religious beliefs regarding marriage.  As a Catholic scholar who focuses on law and the family and who has served as a foster parent and adopted four children, I participated in an amicus brief in Fulton to defend the rights of religious institutions like CSS. Here are some of its arguments.  …

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