Statement on Catholic Charities of Buffalo’s Decision to End Foster Care and Adoption Programs

Dear NASW-NYS Members,

We are sharing with Western Division the policy statement drafted by NASW-NYS on 9/20/18 in response to Catholic Charities’ announcement on August 23, 2018, that they are closing their adoption and foster program.

As always, we welcome your feedback and engagement as we move forward together as a Chapter.


On August 23, 2018, Catholic Charities of Buffalo announced that it was ending both its foster care and adoption services. In its press release, Catholic Charities stated that the decision to end the programs was made because it “cannot simultaneously comply with state regulations and conform to the teaching of the Catholic Church on the nature of marriage.”1 The decision followed the request of a gay couple to adopt, which was ultimately denied.

We, at NASW-NYS, are dismayed by Catholic Charities’ decision to end these programs, which provide services to the most vulnerable members of our community. We also recognize the profound dilemma that those working at or with Catholic Charities might feel as a result of this decision.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as of 2016, more than 437,000 children were in foster care and more than 57,000 were adopted. In 2018, the Catholic Charities program included 55 foster homes and had 34 children in care; they also facilitated roughly ten adoptions a year. While there may be efforts under way to reassign the 34 children currently in Catholic Charities’ care, it must be noted that resources are limited, not just in Buffalo, but nationally.

NASW and NASW-NYS strongly support the recognition of LGBTQ families through parental recognition laws and (Social Work Speaks, 2018, p.216) and adoption laws (p. 137). Specifically, NASW supports “the removal of barriers that prevent children from being placed in permanent homes, including barriers that are unsupported by tested experience such as resistance to using single parents, foster parents (for adoption), and nontraditional family patterns (including LGBT parents) as potential foster care and adoption resources.” (p.137).

As social workers, we are fully committed to honoring the differences amongst us in both theory and practice and entreat others to do the same. As such, we strongly encourage the Diocese of Buffalo and Catholic Charities of Buffalo to reconsider the decision to close their adoption and foster care programs.

1 Jackson, K., Aug. 23, 2018, Catholic Charities to Phase Out Foster Care and Adoption Services,

Author: NASW-NYS