Roundtable 2003 Annual Conference
The Public Benefit of Private Faith
Date: November 12 & 13, 2003
Location: Washington D.C
Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy's fall 2003
conference drew from several multi-pronged national studies,
the November conference presented critically needed new information
about the scale and efficacy of faith-based social service
programs. New reports assess what significance the "faith
factor" has on the level of program effectiveness.
Transcripts and Reports:
Wednesday - November 12, 2003
Opening Plenary Session
Services In Action: A Look at One Program and the Questions
"Faith Partners" is a welfare-to-work program in Colorado
Springs that uses church volunteers to serve as "mentors"
to people who need help finding and keeping a job. It was
the subject of an in-depth report on the PBS program "NOW
with Bill Moyers."
After watching an excerpt of the PBS report, a panel of
civic and religious leaders conduct a discussion on how
FBO's new to social service delivery differ in method
and motivation from long standing religious-based providers.
What is happening on the ground as FBO's combine faith
and service? What are the implications of more overtly religious
approaches to social service delivery?
"The California Community and Faith-based Initiative:
Preliminary Evaluation Findings"
"Funding Good Works: Faith-based Social Service Coalitions
and Funding Issues"
"State Fiscal Crises and Faith-Based Organizations"
Legal Plenary Session
Permissible Uses of Public Funds by Faith-Based Social Service
Providers: A Conversation Among Lawyers, State Officials,
and Representatives of Faith Organizations
The courts have established a set of activities -
labeled as "inherently religious" - that
may never be undertaken at public expense (religious worship,
proselytizing). Some have taken this to mean that tax dollars
can be used for anything but "inherently religious
activity," but the courts have struck down public
funding for activities - substance abuse treatment,
for example - that while not religious in inherent
character, were nonetheless impermissibly religious activities
The plenary was structured as a special teaching session.
Case scenarios presented describe program activities and
situations involving clients of publicly-funded faith-based
social services. Members of the expert panel react, offer
their perspective, and together, draw out their views on
the extent to which religious themes and contact can be
intermingled with government-financed social services.
Exploring the Impact of a Faith-Based Program for At-Risk
Private Sector Contributions to Faith-Based Social Services
Public Benefit of Private Faith: Religious Organizations
and the Delivery of Social Services
"FASTEN's National Study of Faith-Based Human Service
Programs: A Progress Report"
Public Benefit of Private Faith: Dinner Remarks by Peter
Thursday - November 13, 2003
Comparative Case Plenary Session
Views on the Role and Effect of Faith in Social Services
A discussion of a new Roundtable study comparing the methods
and results of drug treatment programs in Washington, employment/training
programs in Indiana, homeless housing programs in Michigan,
and responsible parenting programs in Mississippi.
Researchers compared and contrasted faith-based and secular
providers of essentially the same service to essentially
the same clientele, using variation in the intensity of
faith integration to highlight the "faith factor"
as an influence on process and effects.
This set of linked comparative case studies help to answer
questions that are central to the debate surrounding the
President's Faith Based Initiative: What are the differences,
if any, between how FBO's and secular agencies deliver
services? How, if at all, does a provider's level
of religious integration influence its delivery of social
Effectiveness of Faith-Based Employment Programs: Findings
From New Studies in Los Angeles and Indiana
"The Cultures of Faith-Based Substance Abuse Treatment
Programs: Anthropological and Clients' Perspectives"
"Understanding Spirituality in Community Programming:
Overview of Research in Progress"
State Scan Plenary Session - 2:15 pm
Choice and Faith-Based Social Services: The View from the
Case Studies - In-depth looks at faith-based social service
program activity in five specific states
Questions addressed include:
To what extent have states passed laws, issued regulations,
provided guidance on contracts or taken other actions relating
to FBO participation in social service delivery?
Has there been increased involvement by FBO's in this arena?
What are states doing, if anything, to encourage involvement
by FBOs in delivering social services by simplifying contract
procedures and helping new groups in the contract process?
What are the differences among the states regarding rules
that govern FBO participation in providing social services?
Plenary Remarks: Reflections and Directions -
"Reflections and Directions"
As our Fall Research Conference concludes a distinguished
panel will share their ideas on new research findings, and
assess the impact of recent political and legal developments
on faith-based service delivery. The panel will help identify
major knowledge gaps and suggest what kind of research might