USCCB Chairmen Renew Support for Inclusion Act to Protect Freedom of Faith-Based Foster Care and Adoption Providers

February 1, 2019 By Public Affairs Office

Religious freedom is important for all, including child welfare providers
Inclusion Act protects religious freedom and excludes no one
A birth mother’s choice in adoption is important and deserves protection

WASHINGTON—Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are offering their strong support for the bipartisan Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2019. The Act would prevent the federal government, and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services, from taking adverse action against a provider that declines to conduct its services in a manner that would violate its religious or moral principles.  
""Our first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty, is to be enjoyed by all Americans, including child welfare providers who serve the needs of children,"" wrote Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; in letters of support to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate, who introduced the bipartisan bill.
Some faith-based child welfare providers, including in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Philadelphia, New York, and the District of Columbia, have been excluded from carrying out adoption and foster care services because the providers act on their belief that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and father. The chairmen said, ""The Inclusion Act would remedy this unjust discrimination by enabling all providers to serve the needs of parents and children in a manner consistent with the providers' religious beliefs and moral convictions.""
Stressing that the Inclusion Act respects the importance of a birth mother’s choice, the chairmen remarked, ""Women and men who want to place their children for adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents' religious beliefs and moral convictions.""
The letters of support are available online at and

A backgrounder on the Inclusion Act is available at
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, federal court, marriage, adoptions, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop James Conley, Bishop Frank Dewane, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Committee for Religious Liberty, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, religious freedom, religious liberty, House of Representatives, Senate, Congress
Judy Keane