Press Release

Today: Foster families fight Philly discrimination in court Families will urge court to halt City’s attempt to shut down religious foster agency that would keep foster children from loving homes

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Philadelphia-based foster families will be in court today fighting the City of Philadelphia’s decision to target a religious foster care agency, keeping hundreds of at-risk kids out of loving homes.

In Sharonell Fulton, et al. v. City of Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia barred one of the city’s top foster care agencies, Catholic Social Services, from placing children with dozens of certified foster families solely because of the agency’s longstanding religious beliefs about marriage. Catholic Social Services has worked with the city for more than five decades to find foster families for children in need and has provided this ministry to Philadelphians since the early 1900s—well before the city got involved. But earlier this year the city enacted a new policy abruptly barring Catholic Social Services from placing children with foster parents like Sharonell Fulton—who has fostered over 40 kids in the last 25 years—even though there has never been a single complaint against the agency’s policy. Instead, the undisputed evidence shows that not a single person has been prevented or even discouraged from becoming a foster parent because of Catholic Social Services’ religious ministry. Today the Third Circuit Court of Appeals must decide whether to grant Catholic Social Services’ ability to place children while the case is ongoing; if not it will be forced to close within the next few months.


Oral Argument in Sharonell Fulton, et al. v. City of Philadelphia

Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket

Today at 2:00 p.m. Eastern

James A. Byrne United States Courthouse
601 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19106

Becket attorney Lori Windham will give a statement live on Twitter immediately after the hearing.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Melinda Skea at or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.


Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court. For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more here).