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Kentucky's largest child care agency will not hire gay workers

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MOUNT WASHINGTON, Ky. -- Gay employees will not be hired for work at Kentucky's largest private child care agency, the board decided Friday.

Sunrise Children's Services issued a statement after the vote took place that informed job applicants that the agency does not hire gays, the AP reported.

A change to Sunrise's policy that would allow gay workers to be hired, the AP said, was encouraged by Sunrise President Bill Smithwick. He said state and federal funding could be put in jeopardy, because Sunrise gets about $1 million a year from Baptist churches. 

Chair member of Sunrise's board said the vote "will not affect the everyday care Sunrise provides to families and children."

RELATED: Cincinnati agency now certified to place children in permanent homes

According to the AP, Sunrise serves about 2,000 abused and neglected children around Kentucky each year. Some of those kids are cared for by the foster care office in Florence.

Eileen Beri is a psychologist in Cincinnati, and doesn't see an issue with sexual orientation and caring for foster kids.

"They care for children," she said. "They need to educate and be comfortable with children. You need people with training, knowledge of children, and you have to know how to deal with kids."

As for screening for sexual orientation in an interview process, Beri said it's just not relevant.

"They can ask my age, but then I can file suit if I don't get the job," she said.

When it comes to providing care to foster children, the board decided sexual orientation should keep someone from being hired, which meant it would keep its current hiring standards.

"Sexual orientation has nothing to do with it," Beri said.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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