The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

The role that faith-based and other local, neighborhood-serving groups should play in meeting social needs through Federal Government programs has been debated for decades. These debates have often produced more heat than light because of insufficient evidence on matters ranging from the extent of Federal social service spending and the breadth of existing Federal collaboration with faith- and community-based charities to the existence of specific legal restrictions on these organizations' participation and legal questions about the constitutionality of government funding of faith-based service groups.

This report provides an overview of problems uncovered by the first ever audit of Federal programs undertaken by the newly-created Centers for Faith-Based & Community Initiatives at HHS, HUD, Education, Labor, and Justice. Because of the Centers' recent vintage and limited staff, the shortened turnaround time for the report, and the extensive range of affected agency programs, the audit could not cover every potentially affected program in depth. Thus, the Centers emphasized programs that receive major funding, programs that are covered by existing Charitable Choice laws, programs characteristic of the respective departments, and programs in which participation by faith-based and other community-serving groups would be natural or especially fruitful.

Among the findings of the five Centers' reports are the following:

Next: "How Much Federal Support for Faith-Based and Grassroots Charities?"

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