The Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that will clarify the role of faith-based agencies in the foster and adoption system. In Fulton v. Philadelphia, Philadelphia foster moms Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch are defending the faith-based agency that brought their families together. Starting in 2018, the City of Philadelphia began targeting and threatening to shut down Catholic Social Services unless it violates its sincere beliefs.
Sharonell Fulton has fostered more than 40 children over 25 years in partnership with Catholic Social Services (CSS) in Philadelphia, and Toni Simms-Busch is a former social worker who recently adopted the children she fostered through CSS. Both mothers chose CSS because the agency shares their most deeply held values and beliefs, and both have relied heavily on CSS’s support during their foster care journey. A federal appeals court ruled against the foster mothers and CSS, who are now urging the Supreme Court to protect the a ministry that serves Philadlphia’s most vulnerable, at-risk children.
“CSS has been a godsend to my family and so many like ours. I don’t think I could have gone through this process without an agency that shares my core beliefs and cares for my children accordingly,” said Toni Simms-Busch. “We are so grateful that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear our case and sort out the mess that Philadelphia has created for so many vulnerable foster children.”