by Kaitlin Jackson
Catholic Charities of Buffalo has begun the process to phase out current foster care and adoption services under a contract with the Erie County Department of Social Services (DSS). The contract is set to expire in March 2019.
Foster care and adoption services are under the authority of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).
Because Catholic Charities cannot simultaneously comply with state regulations and conform to the teaching of the Catholic Church on the nature of marriage, Catholic Charities will discontinue foster care and adoption services.
As an organization sponsored by the Diocese of Buffalo, Catholic Charities cannot uphold the requirement that contracting agencies allow same-sex couples to foster and adopt children. The teaching and position of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world recognizes marriage only as a union between a woman and a man.
“It is with deep sadness we acknowledge that the legacy of the high quality, exceptional services which our staff provides to children and families through foster care and adoption will be lost,” said Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer. “We are working with the state OCFS and Erie County DSS to support a smooth transition for children in foster care and foster parents, as well as those who have submitted applications to provide foster care or seek adoption.”
The program currently includes 55 certified foster homes, with 34 children in care in 24 homes. Catholic Charities has facilitated an average of 10 adoptions per year over the last 10 years, the majority of which are cases in which children are released from foster care for adoption.
Adoption was one of several services on which Catholic Charities was founded nearly 95 years ago.
Similarly, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston stopped providing adoption services in March 2006 and Catholic Charities’ organizations across the State of Illinois followed with the same decision in November 2011.