It took four years to undo, but the Trump administration has now reversed an Obama-era policy that discriminated against groups with biblical beliefs.
The US Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule Thursday that eliminates a federal regulation from the Obama administration that forced child welfare providers to abandon their deeply-held religious beliefs in order to continue to receive federal funding to serve children in need.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys represent Catholic Charities West Michigan and New Hope Family Services in New York, both adoption and foster care providers, in federal lawsuits against state officials.
The ADF is a non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
The lawsuits seek to protect the faith-based providers from being singled out, punished, or disfavored because of their religious beliefs—beliefs that motivate their care for children, birth parents, and other vulnerable members of the community.
ADF Senior Counsel Zack Pruitt commented on the new HHS rule and how it offers hope for foster children.
"Every child deserves a chance to be raised in a loving home. There are hundreds of thousands of children in the foster care system, many of whom are eligible for adoption. Faith-based adoption and foster care providers play an integral role in serving these vulnerable kids. Sadly, the prior administration's regulation failed to protect all providers and discriminated against faith-based providers simply because of their beliefs about marriage," Pruitt said.
"That is not keeping kids first. HHS's final rule to end this discrimination offers hope for children, more options for birth mothers, support for families, and increased flexibility for states seeking to alleviate real human need. We commend the Trump administration for protecting a diversity of providers to ensure the greatest number of children find a permanent, loving family," he concluded.
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