Cynthia, Galveston, Reginald Adams discussed on Here & Now

Here & Now
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From npr in wbz. i'm tanya moseley and i'm callum borders. It's here now. The city of philadelphia has to make allow a group called catholic social services to again help the city place children in foster care even though it won't place them with same sex couples or continue to fight the considers discrimination. The us supreme court ruled unanimously against philadelphia. Yesterday saying the city can't refuse to work with catholic social services because of the group's religious beliefs joining us. Now is cynthia figueroa. Philadelphia's deputy mayor of children and families. Cynthia welcome to here. Now thank you for having me. Let me start by reading. Part of the majority ruling. By chief justice roberts and again this was a unanimous decision. He writes the catholic. Social services quote seeks only and accommodation. That will allow it to continue serving the children to philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs. It does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else. What's your reaction to that opinion. Just highly disappointing particularly disappointing for young people and the message that it sends particularly the kids who are in our care who need to have faith in systems that systems. Don't allow discrimination. Could you give us a little more background on the case for folks who haven't followed it closely. Catholic social services is one of several agencies that had contracts with the city of philadelphia to screen. Potential foster parents right. So how did we get to this point. Actually there's a few years ago. Now we were doing significant foster care. Recruitment and we were targeting the lgbtq community and it came to our attention that some individuals had experienced discrimination being same sex couple. We asked several organizations if they actually did do this practice of screening out folks if they were same sex couples and we found that there were two organizations actually which was catholic social services and the other organization which then changed his actual policy and worked with the city to continue to provide services from that point on it turned into legal matter. And i think it is important to share. Because they think it's been lost. A little bit is that we actually did not stop contracting with catholic social services we just did not send any additional referrals. There's actually millions of dollars that the city contracts with catholic social services so it was really specific to this issue of foster care. They actually have one of the largest child welfare contracts with us so even though we had this dispute on the foster care side we work with them on a daily basis. Sure so it was sort of a narrow dispute with the agency and it's worth noting that the supreme court's decision is narrow as well which I know that many gay rights advocates are relieved about it could been a more sweeping ruling that the city of philadelphia is anti-discrimination. Rules are unconstitutional. It does not do that Do you yeah. Yeah i do take heart in that. I think the headlines certainly doesn't read well when i hear unanimous and you're like what But the fact that it did not say that the fair practices. Ordinance in philadelphia is unconstitutional. That is very significant. And so we're evaluating. What's the path forward for our work. Well i guess one of the big questions then about the path forward is will you start referring new foster care cases to catholic social services again Chief justice noted in his opinion that The city does allow some exceptions to its anti-discrimination policy for other agencies. He said it also must do the same for catholic social services. Do you see fully restoring that relationship at this. Will the dispute continue. We're really in the throes of those discussions now. So i really can't say right now. We haven't determined what it means but we're certainly making sure that most importantly kids are served and that we're supporting the kid cetera and our care in vain. Let me can i ask you. Wouldn't you might like to see happen as somebody whose job is to look out for the city's kids and i ask in part as a foster parent myself and i know that there's a shortage of of safe and loving homes and a lot of places and and i just can't help but wonder if the children are being overlooked here because the city is standing up for same sex couples and catholic. Social services says it standing up for its religious beliefs. But if you can't find a way to work together then some vulnerable kids could miss out on good foster homes and i'm so glad you said that. And thank you for your support and service and providing a loving home. That's really extraordinary. It's definitely a gift of love and not an easy one. So thank you I think the by my voice in this has been. I think the kids have forgotten in this a lot. On few veins one is that. Lgbtq youth are overly represented in the child welfare system. So i think it sends a horrible message to young people that your rights aren't supported as an adult because whom you choose to love it or be in a relationship with we wanna make sure that any possible home is available to young people and a variety. Homes are available to young folks that cynthia figaro. She's philadelphia's deputy mayor of children and families. cynthia. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it today. Marks juneteenth now. A federally recognized holiday. It's the day in eighteen sixty five. When union general gordon granger arrived in galveston texas to announce that the civil war had ended and all people in slaved in texas and other confederate states were now free in galveston tomorrow which is officially juneteenth. There will be an annual parade and a new mural honoring the day and houston public. Media's elizabeth trouble has more. It's sunny and hot when i meet up with public artists. Reginald adams in.

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