Catholic Charities announced Thursday evening they will phase out foster care and adoption services after their contract with the Erie County Department of Social Services expires in March of next year.
The organization states they cannot uphold the requirement that contracting agencies allow same-sex couples to foster an adopt children because they are sponsored by the Diocese of Buffalo.
In a release, Catholic Charities says they can’t conform to the teaching of the Catholic church on the nature of marriage and comply with state regulation at the same time.
Dennis C. Walczyk, CEO of Catholic Charities had this to say regarding the news:
“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,”
“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.”
Adoption was one of several services that Catholic Charities was built on 95 years go.
Currently, its program includes 55 foster homes, with 34 children in care in 24 homes. They average five adoptions per year, a majority of which are children released from foster care for adoption.
Peter Anderson, press secretary for the Erie County Executive’s office, released a statement to News 4, saying the Department of Social Services “is aware of the decision reached by Catholic Charities and will work with them to make the transition as smooth as possible as they phase out foster care and adoption services. Catholic Charities is a strong community partner and Social Services will continue working with them in other areas in the future.”
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released a statement on Friday afternoon: