Question from a Reader — LCFS and Illinois Law

This question came in from a reader:

You (BJS) covered this issue a while back (comment # 167 and following on this thread). Particularly there was an article in the Chicago Tribune in which both the president of LCFS and Barb Bellow assistant to Matthew Harrison were quoted as saying they didn’t think they would stop doing adoptions.

The foster and adoption situation in Illinois has not changed and June 1st is the deadline presently. There were two attempts in the legislature to change the situation in May. Both failed.

One Catholic diocese has just announced it will be forced to close. The rest will likely follow.

Officials from the Rockford Diocese said they were forced to terminate state contracts worth $7.5 million after lawmakers failed to pass an amendment exempting religious groups from provisions of the state’s new civil unions law, which will let gay and lesbian couples form civil unions, a rough equivalent to marriage. The law takes effect June 1.

Over at LutherQuest it is reported that LCFS already does same sex adoptions. Both the Tribune article and the other article talking about how LCFS currently does same sex couple adoptions are listed in the first post of the this thread.

To me I think this is an important issue. Will the LCMS decide that despite it being morally opposed to this, that they will comply with the state laws, will they force the state to close them down, or will they close voluntarily.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Question from a Reader — LCFS and Illinois Law — 52 Comments

  1. @helen #50
    Not so much of an issue of “don’t ask” but rather “can’t ask.”

    But the issue of principles goes back to my original point in post #20. If you are going to “have principles” and the say “because of my principles, we are going to have to close LCFS” would you suggest these kids would then be in a better situation as wards of the state? For heaven’s sake, even the state thinks they’re better off at LCFC or they wouldnt send them to the agency! Its not a perfect situation. There are challenges to doing this work, particularly when intertwined with civil government. But our church, these kids, our state and our communities are much better off because LCFS is operating in this space. And, like I also suggested earlier, if you want LCFS to stand on principle – give them the money or help them get the money required to tell the state “no thanks.”

  2. I know this is an old topic, but I just ran across it while browsing the internet. I wanted to clarify some issues regarding LCFS that I have personal experience with. I am a single, heterosexual mother of one child. I became a member of a LCMS congregation several years ago and now my daughter attends a LCMS school. I am also a foster parent with LCFS in Illinois and have been for several years.

    First, I would like to say that DCFS doesn’t place children with private agencies because they perceive them to be better. In fact, DCFS encourages private agencies because it is cheaper to place children through private agencies than doing it themselves. DCFS would need to be HUGE and would cost the State a lot more money than it does now even with the costs of supervising the private agencies.

    Second, I have been through several trainings for foster parents and have spoken to many other foster parents about the application procedures at LCFS and the 90% rejection rate (90 out of 100) is ridiculously innacurate. I would actually lean towards their being a 90% ACCEPTANCE rate. The standard to become a foster parent is very low. Basically you have to be able to support yourself without the foster care stipend, be over 21, and have no serious criminal history. It is free for families to go through the homestudy process for fostering and foster to adopt programs. Most children adopted through foster care are adopted by their own foster parents. LCFS in my area does not do private infant adoptions, although they will do the paperwork and charges a fee for this work. I studied all the rules and regulations my home and family had to abide by for fostering, and I actually knew more than the licensing worker who interviewed me for less than 30 minutes.

    Third, I do not know any of the “top” people in LCFS, but at the local level in my city (up to and including the director) there is absolutely NO religious influence, knowledge, practice, or encouragement. I chose LCFS because I thought it was a religious agency. There are very few practicing Chrisitans, let alone Lutherans, working there. There is nothing that sets apart LCFS in any way from DCFS. I respect Catholic Charities for standing up for their beliefs and practices. I have a friend who is licensed through CC for adoption and she will need to transfer her license next year. I have discouraged her and her husband from dealing with LCFS. I know that LCFS can not discriminate towards their clients/families for religious reasons and must serve all people, BUT can’t LCMS require ALL employees to be Christians? The teachers at my daughter’s school have to accept the Book of Concord and sign a statement of faith. Is this illegal to do at a religious social service agency? If there are not enough LCMS Lutherans to staff the agency, then maybe LCMS shouldn’t even have the agency.

    Fourth, This is slightly off topic, but LCFS has a very bad reputation in my area among foster parents and with DCFS officials. This is due to a lack of respect, a lack of professionalism, and a lack of ethical behavior by the agency and its staff. I am transfering my foster care license from my LCFS agency and going through DCFS if they accept me. I am embarrased to have this agency as a representative of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

    Fifth, In my area LSS is Lutheran Social Services and they do foster care and adoption services also.

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