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LDS Family Services announced Tuesday it no longer will operate a full-scale adoption agency, instead shifting all of its adoption-related resources to counseling for birth parents and prospective adoptive parents.

“The adoption program of LDS Family Services is changing,” said David McConkie, the organization’s group manager for services for children. “Our goal is to provide more opportunities for LDS families to adopt. Our goal also is to provide a broader array of services, more services, to single expectant parents, unwed parents, in the church primarily.”

McConkie said his organization expects the new model will enable more LDS families to adopt because it will broaden the options for prospective adoptive parents.

LDS Family Services is a private, nonprofit corporation owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It provides professional counseling services and an addiction recovery program, among other services. For decades, it has been operating one of the largest, private, nonprofit adoption agencies in the world.

Tuesday’s announcement comes at a time when religious-based adoption agencies around the country are under pressure to facilitate adoptions for same-sex couples. LDS Family Services also has been the subject of lawsuits about fathers’ rights in adoption cases.

“None of these issues drive this decision,” McConkie said.

“This predates any of these court cases,” said Sherilyn Stinson, field group manager for the Salt Lake Valley offices of LDS Family Services.

Officials made the announcement Tuesday morning in a meeting with employees, all of whom will be retained and, if necessary, retrained.

The 600 or so couples who were in the process of waiting for adoptions through LDS Family Services will be able to complete that process if they choose, or they can move to the new model, which could increase their chances of adopting.

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