“Catholic” Social Services to become “Christian” in Illinois

And another Catholic institution gives up its affiliation with the Church.  Details:

As of Feb. 1, 2012, Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois will become Christian Social Services of Illinois (CSS).

CSS has chosen to become independent of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville in order to adhere to the new State of Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act and to avoid closing the agency.

The focus of the premier social services agency will continue to be high quality services, which include foster care, residential treatment care for children, residential care for the aged, daycare, senior employment, clinical counseling services, pregnancy care and adoption services.

The primary concern of the agency is the children and families served. By becoming an independent, non-denominational agency, CSS can continue to offer much needed services throughout the area. The mission and values of Christian Social Services will remain the same.

“Although we are sad to lose our Catholic identity, we are excited to be able to broaden our base of support to other Christian traditions,” said Gary Huelsmann, executive director. “The needs in southern Illinois for support of vulnerable children and families are great.

“The Catholic Diocese has carried a heavy financial burden to support the work of the agency for decades, and for that we are grateful. The last two months have been extraordinary for the agency. We have a new identity as well as expanded offices and a phenomenal staff. We hope that the agency will keep its Catholic support but also gain substantial support from other churches that currently are not connected to any other social service agencies.

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