Capitol Conversations Episode

Show Notes

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and the child welfare system is overwhelmed, especially in the middle of the opioid crisis. Yet many faith-based foster care and adoption providers find themselves defending their very right to exist up against legislation like the Equality Act. These providers and families entered the child welfare system because of their religious convictions to care for the vulnerable. We need as many providers as possible to serve vulnerable children and that means, as Russell Moore argued, letting Catholic adoption agencies be Catholic. Jeff and Chelsea welcome their coalition partner Hillary Byrnes, a religious liberty advocate from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to discuss the future of faith-based child welfare.

Guest Biography

Hillary Byrnes is director of Religious Liberty and Associate General Counsel for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, D.C.  Hillary staffs the Committee for Religious Liberty, which the U.S. bishops established to address growing concerns over the erosion of freedom of religion in America. Before joining the USCCB, Hillary worked in private practice and served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, cum laude, where she was an Article Editor of the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, and earned her bachelor's in Foreign Service, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University. Hillary is a member of the bars of New York and the District of Columbia and has been admitted to practice before several federal trial and appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

Resources from the Conversation


iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | Tune in  

Chelsea Patterson Sobolik

Chelsea Patterson Sobolik serves as a Policy Director in the Washington, D.C. office of the ERLC. Previously, she worked in the U.S. House of Representatives on pro-life policies, domestic and international religious freedom, adoption, and foster care issues. Chelsea is... Read More

Jeff Pickering

Jeff Pickering serves as associate policy communications director in the Washington, D.C. office. In this role, he hosts the weekly Capitol Conversations podcast, develops communications strategy, and connects journalists with the organization’s policy work. He also serves as the mentor and director... Read More

More From

Capitol Conversations Episodes

Published Aug 14, 2019

August Profiles: Russell Moore on faith, family, and friendships from Mississippi to Washington

Published Aug 7, 2019

David French on the rise of alt-right white supremacist terrorism

Published Aug 3, 2019

Brent Leatherwood on what you should know about the presidential debates

Published Jul 24, 2019

The ERLC team on advancing religious freedom with the State Department

Published Jul 17, 2019

Kenneth Bae, the longest held U.S. prisoner in North Korea, on hope in a hard labor camp

Published Jul 3, 2019

2019 SBC resolutions and what they mean for ERLC policy work in Washington, D.C.