US Bishops Questions Controversial Grant Decision

on . Conscience Rights

US-capital-150The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to learn more about a decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to not renew the funding of a Catholic agency caring for human trafficking victims and instead award grants to lesser-qualified agencies.

An independent review board scored USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) application as the second highest of six agencies that had applied for a contract to provide aid to trafficking victims. (Despite the fact that MRS lost points for not providing contraception and abortion services). While the agency with highest points received an award, theBishops’ MRSwas skipped and the balance of funding given to agencies that the panel rated much lower. Those organizations could not even provide services by the deadline specified.

The controversy came to public attention when sources told the Washington Post that non-political employees of HHS questioned the decision, which deviated from HHS standard procedures, and have reported so to the agency’s inspector general.



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