Boosting social services – New study in Philadelphia

Black congregations could be among the biggest recipients of federal dollars under President Bush’s plan to support religious groups delivering social services, says a new study by a group headed by the director of the office overseeing Bush’s faith-based strategy.

The study, conducted by the Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania, found that black churches “carry a large burden of the social services of the community” in Philadelphia, Ram Cnaan, a social work professor at Penn, told the Associated Press.

Of 1,044 Philadelphia congregations in the study, about 87 percent reported at least one community service program, with black congregations providing an average of 2.4 community-service programs each, and non-black churches, mosques and synagogues providing about 2.25 each, AP reported Feb. 9.

It would cost more than $230 million a year to reproduce the social services provided by Philadelphia congregations, the study says.

The Center on Religion and Urban Civil Society is directed by political scientist John DiIulio, who has been named by Bush to head the new White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

For full story, go to the Associated Press.

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