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Posted on 06/5/2018 05:07 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The official World Youth Day (WYD) Cross and Marian Icon, entrusted to the youth and young adults of the world by St. John Paul II in 1984, will make a multi-city tour of the United States in August 2018, the first time in twenty-five years such a coordinated journey has occurred.
The USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (LMFLY), in particular its World Youth Day USA (WYDUSA) initiative, is coordinating the national tour.
The Cross and Icon will travel across the country from Sunday, August 19 to Monday, August 27, 2018. The five stops along its U.S. journey will include, in order: Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; Houston, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles, California.
Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, O.S.A., Metropolitan Archbishop of Panama and host of the next international World Youth Day gathering in January 2019, extended the Latin American tour of the WYD symbols to include the United States.
Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport and WYD Episcopal Liaison for the USCCB, said, "We are grateful for this opportunity to host these incredible and unifying symbols in our country. I hope that young people and young adults will have an encounter with Christ and his mother Mary through the Cross and Icon, just as many have during World Youth Day. This summer tour is also very timely because August 2018 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the last time the pilgrim cross made a journey across the United States in advance of WYD 1993 in Denver."
The Cross has traveled around the globe since 1984, when St. John Paul II gave it to young people. It has been part of every World Youth Day celebration beginning with the first official WYD event in Rome in 1986. In 2002, the Cross came to Ground Zero in New York City for a brief visit to bring comfort to the nation's young people in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2003, St. John Paul II presented the world's youth and young adults with a Marian Icon, under the title of Salus Populi Romani, which has accompanied the WYD Cross for the past fifteen years.
The USCCB is coordinating efforts with local dioceses, institutions, and pastoral leaders in each of the five hosting locations. More information about the nationwide journey of the WYD symbols will be released, as details are known, on the USCCB's World Youth Day website, www.wydusa.org and social media channels (@wydusa).
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, World Youth Day, WYD, Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (LMFLY), World Youth Day USA, St. John Paul II, World Youth Day (WYD) Cross, Marian Icon, Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, Bishop Frank Caggiano, youth, young people, 9/11, tour
USCCB Chairmen Applaud Supreme Court’s Respect for Religious Liberty in Masterpiece Cakeshop Decision
Posted on 06/4/2018 10:59 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case involves a Christian baker named Jack Phillips who declined in 2012 to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. State officials sought to compel Phillips to create such cakes under Colorado's public accommodations law. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Phillips under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following joint statement:
"Today's decision confirms that people of faith should not suffer discrimination on account of their deeply held religious beliefs, but instead should be respected by government officials. This extends to creative professionals, such as Jack Phillips, who seek to serve the Lord in every aspect of their daily lives. In a pluralistic society like ours, true tolerance allows people with different viewpoints to be free to live out their beliefs, even if those beliefs are unpopular with the government."
The USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Masterpiece Cakeshop, which can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/16-111-tsac-USCCB.pdf.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Bishop James Conley, Supreme Court, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Colorado Civil Rights Commission, religious freedom, religious liberty, freedom of conscience, marriage
David Spesia Named as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Posted on 06/4/2018 05:34 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—David Spesia has been appointed as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Monsignor Brian Bransfield, USCCB Secretary General, made the appointment, which will take effect July 2, 2018.
Since 2010, Dr. Spesia has served as Secretary of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Joliet. Prior to his most currently role, he was principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in Joliet from 2007-2010. From 1998-2007, he served as a Theology teacher and department chair at the Joliet Catholic Academy and additionally served as Managing Editor for Communio: International Catholic Review for five years. Throughout each role, Dr. Spesia has demonstrated a firm understanding of and deep personal commitment to evangelization. He has also overseen numerous programs and personnel along with inspiring students in his witness to the beauty of the Church and its teachings.
"Dr. Spesia brings to the Conference a wealth of both academic knowledge and lived experience in the realms of missionary discipleship, collaborate leadership, and evangelization," said Msgr. Bransfield. "I am grateful to him for accepting this important position in service to the bishops and to the Conference."
David Spesia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame in 1988. He earned his Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago—Divinity School in 1991. He also earned a Master of Arts in Education in 2005, a Master of Science in Educational Leadership in June 2008, and a doctorate of education in August 2016, all from the University of St. Francis.
For more information on the USCCB Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/evangelization-and-catechesis/.
If you would like a photo image of Dr. Spesia, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, David Spesia, PhD., Msgr. Brian Bransfield
Posted on 06/1/2018 11:15 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security has recently acknowledged implementation of the policy of separating families arriving at the U.S./Mexico Border. Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement in response:
"Forcibly separating children from their mothers and fathers is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety and contrary to our Catholic values. Family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system and a foundational element of Catholic teaching. 'Children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.' (Psalm 127:3) Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God.
Rupturing the bond between parent and child causes scientifically-proven trauma that often leads to irreparable emotional scarring. Accordingly, children should always be placed in the least restrictive setting: a safe, family environment, ideally with their own families.
My brother bishops and I understand the need for the security of our borders and country, but separating arriving families at the U.S./Mexico border does not allay security concerns. Children and families will continue to take the enormous risks of migration—including family separation—because the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle remain: community or state-sanctioned violence, gang recruitment, poverty, and a lack of educational opportunity. Any policies should address these factors first as we seek to repair our broken immigration system."
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, MRS, Department of Homeland Security, migrants, migrant children, safety, family unity, border security, U.S./Mexico border,
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Release 2017 Annual Report on the Protection of Children and Young People
Posted on 06/1/2018 05:51 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released their 2017 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The 2017 report for audit year July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017, states that 654 adults came forward with 695 allegations. Compared to 2015 and 2016, the number of allegations has decreased significantly due to fewer bankruptcy proceedings and statute of limitations changes. Also, it notes that 1,702 victim/survivors received ongoing support. All dioceses and eparchies that received an allegation of sexual abuse during the 2017 audit year reported them to the appropriate civil authorities.
The report also notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2017, over 2.5 million background checks were conducted on Church clerics, employees, and volunteers. Over 2.5 million adults and 4.1 million children have also been trained on how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.
Twenty-four new allegations came from minors. As of June 30, 2017, six were substantiated and the clergy were removed from ministry. These allegations came from three different dioceses. Four of the six allegations were against the same priest. Eight allegations were unsubstantiated as of June 30, 2017. Three were categorized as "unable to be proven" and investigations were still in process for five of the allegations as of June 30, 2017.
Regarding Charter Compliance, the report noted the following:
- Two eparchies and one diocese did not participate in the audit this year.
- 191 dioceses were found compliant with the Charter.
- All diocese/eparchies participating in the 133 data collection audits were found compliant with the data collection process.
- Of the sixty-one dioceses/eparchies participating in the on-site audits, all were found compliant except for three eparchies.
- All three eparchies were found non-compliant with Article 2 for the 2017 audit period.
- One eparchy was also found non-compliant with Articles 12 and 13.
The Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People continues to emphasize that the audit and the maintaining zero-tolerance policies are two important tools in the Church's broader program of creating a culture of protection and healing that exceeds the requirements of the Charter.
This is the fifteenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, making a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.
The full Annual Report can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2017-Report.pdf
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, 2017 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations, children, young people, vulnerable adults, dioceses/eparchies, sexual abuse, religious orders, Charter compliance, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, safety, protection, healing.
Posted on 06/1/2018 01:00 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed as Bishop of the Ruthenian Eparchy of Parma, the Most Reverend Milan Lach, SJ, who up until now served as apostolic administrator of the Eparchy.
The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma is the Catholic eparchy governing most Ruthenian Catholics in the mid-western United States. It is headquartered in Parma, Ohio.
The appointment was publicized in Washington, DC, June 1, 2018 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Lach, 44, was born in Kežmarok, Slovakia in 1973. In 1992, he was admitted to the Greek-catholic seminary in Prešov and in 1995 entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Trnava, Slovakia. He continued his studies at Trnava University and also studied at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, where he obtained a master's degree from the Eastern Church Sciences and later, a doctorate degree. In 2009, he began working at the Center of Spirituality East – West of Michal Lacko in Košice, Slovakia.
He was ordained a deacon of the Society of Jesus on November 11, 2000 and was ordained a priest on July 1, 2001. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Prešov and titular bishop of Ostracine on April 19, 2013. He was ordained as auxiliary bishop of Prešov and titular bishop of Ostracine, June 1, 2013. On June 24, 2017, Pope Francis named Bishop Lach as apostolic administrator of the sede vacante (vacant see) of the Epharcy of Parma for the Ruthenians.
The Eparchy of Parma for the Ruthenians was erected February 21, 1969. Currently, the Eparchy of Parma encompasses the geographical area of Ohio (except the eastern border counties), Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Byzantine Catholics living in those states are members of the local Church of Parma.
Keywords: Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Milan Lach, SJ, Eparchy of Parma for the Ruthenians, Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ruthenian Catholics.
La Confraternidad de la Doctrina Cristiana aprueba $46.729 en subvenciones para "fomentar respuestas prácticas" a la alfabetización bíblica
Posted on 05/21/2018 10:56 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Esta primavera, la Confraternidad de la Doctrina Cristiana (CCD, por sus siglas en inglés) otorgó subvenciones por un monto de $46.729 para tres proyectos que apoyan los objetivos de la CCD para promover la alfabetización bíblica católica y la interpretación bíblica católica.
La CCD trabaja con la Asociación Bíblica Católica (CBA, por sus siglas en inglés) para ofrecer estas subvenciones aceptando solicitudes solo de la CBA, incluyendo a la organización misma, sus designados y sus miembros activos y asociados. En fidelidad a "Dei Verbum", el objetivo de la CBA es promover el estudio académico en las Escrituras y campos relacionados mediante reuniones de la asociación, publicaciones y apoyo a quienes participan en dichos estudios.El Obispo Robert J. Brennan, Obispo Auxiliar de la Diócesis de Rockville Centre y miembro del Comité de Enlace entre CCD y CBA comentó: "Es motivador ver el renovado interés en la alfabetización bíblica en todos los niveles de formación y vida de la Iglesia. Me alegra que las subvenciones de CCD y CBA fomenten respuestas prácticas a este interés".
Los fondos para estas subvenciones provienen de las regalías recibidas de la publicación de la New American Bible y sus obras derivadas que la Asociación Bíblica Católica desarrolla, publica, promueve y distribuye.
Los tres proyectos patrocinados por la CCD son los siguientes.
- $10.000 al Dr. Timothy Carmody (Profesor, Director del Programa de Posgrado del Spring Hill College en St. Mobile, Alabama) para el desarrollo y la enseñanza de tres cursos en Estudios Bíblicos de candidatos a diáconos de primer año de la Diócesis de Jackson, MS. Los tres cursos proporcionarán una Introducción a los Estudios Bíblicos y la Revelación, así como estudios en profundidad de los Profetas y los Evangelios sinópticos.
- $12.679 al Dr. Mahri Leonard-Fleckman (Profesor Asistente en el Providence College en Rhode Island) para una estadía de dos meses en Israel para facilitar el trabajo en la "École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem" y en una excavación arqueológica para desarrollar un libro sobre cómo la Biblia y la evidencia arqueológica podrían proporcionar juntas un mejor entendimiento tanto de la sociedad antigua como del texto bíblico.
- $24.050 al Dr. Rafael Ramírez (Profesor asistente afiliado en la Neuhoff School of Ministry en la Universidad de Dallas en Texas) para el financiamiento de una beca en el Programa MTS de Estudios Bíblicos en ese centro de estudios. Después de graduarse, el beneficiario de la beca va a enseñar en la Escuela Católica Bíblica.
Palabras clave: Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, USCCB, Confraternidad de la Doctrina Cristiana, CCD, Asociación Bíblica Católica, CBA, Obispo Robert J. Brennan, Diócesis de Rockville Centre, Comité de Educación Católica, Dei Verbum, New American Bible, beca bíblica, programas pastorales, literatura bíblica, alfabetización bíblica católica, interpretación bíblica católica, subvenciones.
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Catholic Dioceses Contribute More Than $58.7 Million to Recovery Efforts in the Wake of 2017 Hurricanes and Mexico Earthquakes
Posted on 05/21/2018 09:18 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—In response to the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and earthquakes in Mexico, Catholics across the United States have contributed nearly $59 million to relief and recovery efforts. Initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), special collections and funds were launched last year to support humanitarian relief efforts as well as to provide pastoral services and financial support to rebuild facilities in dioceses impacted by these disasters.
"The devastation wrought by last year's unprecedented disasters continues to impact the lives of our brothers and sisters in the United States, across the Caribbean, and in Mexico. We are profoundly grateful to the dioceses that took up special collections or made donations," said Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections "The support of parishioners is an act of charity and a reflection of love for neighbor. We ask for continued prayers of support for the people affected by these historic natural disasters."
As of mid-May 2018, US dioceses have remitted the following amounts for relief efforts:
Hurricane Harvey – $37.2 Million
Hurricane Irma – $12.8 Million
Hurricane Maria – $6.1 Million
Mexico Earthquakes – $3.5 Million
Humanitarian relief and recovery efforts are being provided by Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CCUSA is receiving 50% of Hurricane Harvey funds and 30% of both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria funds; CRS is receiving 20% of Hurricane Irma funds. Initial funding from the special collections supported immediate needs such as food, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Long-term disaster recovery is currently underway. CCUSA recently distributed $13.5 million to nine Catholic Charities agencies in Texas and Louisiana where Hurricane Harvey affected countless people.
In response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, CRS worked with Caritas Havana in Cuba to provide roofing and mattresses to affected families. In the British Virgin Islands, CRS, Caritas Antilles and the British Red Cross set up a joint cash program to help 740 families buy essential items. In Dominica, CRS and Caritas Antilles distributed 750 hygiene kits, 1,590 tarps, 920 buckets and 660 water filters to more than 600 families in four communities in the hardest-hit southeastern region. In the Dominican Republic, CRS partners provided 1,970 families with vouchers for food, hygiene and living supplies, and 330 families with hygiene kits. Teams also worked with the local health ministry to raise awareness about health and hygiene, particularly the danger of waterborne diseases and other health risks.
Two Mexico earthquakes days apart killed nearly 500 people in September 2017 and destroyed homes, infrastructure and utilities, CRS, Caritas Mexico and local partners constructed transitional shelters and distributed 2,859 tarps to vulnerable families. They set up communal cooking facilities to ensure daily hot meals and provided living supplies, including kitchen sets and locally made clay ovens. CRS and its partners also arranged counseling for 1,040 children and young people dealing with grief, distress and trauma from the earthquakes. Moving forward, CRS will train people to build back better using disaster-resilient construction techniques, and to maintain their shelters. In four communities, community-based disaster response teams are being trained in first aid. This outreach was done through CRS's direct fundraising efforts.
The USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions is managing the US Church share of Hurricane Harvey (50%), Hurricane Irma (30%) and Hurricane Maria (55%) funds. The Subcommittee has awarded $14 million in Hurricane Harvey grants, and $3 million in Hurricane Irma grants to assist with Church repairs to parishes and schools in dioceses impacted by the hurricanes. Requests from dioceses for Hurricane Maria support will be considered at the Subcommittee's June 14 meeting.
The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America is managing the Caribbean Church share of Hurricane Irma (20%) and Hurricane Maria (15%) funds, as well as all contributions to the Mexico Earthquakes fund.
Distributions to the responding organizations will continue to be made as funds are received.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Collections, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, Mexico Earthquakes, Gospel, charity, media, internet, print
The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Approves $46,729 in Grants to “Foster Practical Responses” to Biblical Literacy
Posted on 05/21/2018 04:46 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—This spring, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) awarded grants in the amount of $46,729 for three projects that support the goals of the CCD to promote Catholic biblical literacy and Catholic biblical interpretation.
The CCD works with the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA) to offer these grants accepting applications only from the CBA, including the organization itself, its designees, and its full and associate members. In fidelity to Dei Verbum, the CBA's purpose is to promote scholarly study in Scripture and related fields by meetings of the association, publications, and support to those engaged in such studies.
Bishop Robert J. Brennan, Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre and Member of the CCD-CBA Liaison Committee, commented, "It is heartening to see the renewed interest in Biblical literacy at every level of formation and Church life. I am glad that the CCD-CBA grants will foster practical responses to this interest."
Funding for these grants comes from the royalties received from the publication of the New American Bible and its derivative works which the CCD develops, publishes, promotes, and distributes.
The three projects sponsored by the CCD are as follows:
- $10,000 to Dr. Timothy Carmody (Professor, Graduate Program Director, Spring Hill College, St. Mobile, Alabama) for the development and teaching of three courses in Biblical Studies of first year deacon candidates of the Diocese of Jackson, MS. The three courses will provide an Introduction to Biblical Studies and Revelation as well as in-depth studies of the Prophets, and the synoptic Gospels.
- $12,679 to Dr. Mahri Leonard-Fleckman (Assistant Professor, Providence College, Rhode Island) for a two-month stay in Israel to facilitate work at the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem and on an archaeological dig to develop a book on how the Bible and archaeological evidence might together provide a better understanding of both the ancient society and the biblical text.
- $24,050 to Dr. Rafael Ramirez (Affiliate Assistant Professor, University of Dallas, Neuhoff School of Ministry, Texas) for the funding of one scholarship for the MTS/Biblical Studies program at the University of Dallas Neuhoff School of Ministry. Upon graduation, the scholarship recipient will teach in the Escuela Catolica Biblica.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, CCD, Catholic Biblical Association, CBA, Bishop Robert J. Brennan, Diocese of Rockville Centre, CCD-CBA Liaison Committee, Dei Verbum, New American Bible, biblical scholarship, pastoral programs, biblical literacy, biblical interpretation, grants
U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Applaud Kansas and Oklahoma for Enacting Laws that Keep Kids First in Foster Care and Adoption Services
Posted on 05/18/2018 12:11 PM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—By enacting laws protecting the conscience rights of adoption and foster care providers, "Kansas and Oklahoma are keeping kids first," said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The governors of Kansas and Oklahoma on May 18 and May 11, respectively, signed legislation ensuring that faith-based adoption and foster care providers can provide these services in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs or moral convictions.
The three USCCB chairmen stated the following:
"Kansas and Oklahoma are keeping kids first by allowing all capable adoption and foster care providers to serve children in need. The opioid crisis has caused a large increase in the number of children entering the foster care system. We need more, not fewer, agencies to serve children who need loving homes."
At least nine states have now passed similar laws, including Virginia, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and now Kansas and Oklahoma. These laws do not exclude any providers or prohibit anyone from adopting but merely ensure the inclusion of faith-based providers.
At the federal level, the USCCB supports the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017 (H.R. 1881 / S. 811), which protects child welfare providers from being discriminated against by federal or state government entities due to the providers' religious beliefs or moral convictions.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop James Conley, USCCB, Kansas Adoption Protection Act, Oklahoma Senate Bill 1140, Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, adoption, foster care, keep kids first, freedom to serve