Thursday, January 24, 2019

Foster Care Allowed To Discriminate

The Trump administration has announced that foster agencies in South Carolina do not have to comply with federal rules barring discrimination even if they receive federal funding. This decision was made after the state requested a waiver for Miracle Hill Ministries one of South Carolina’s largest foster care agencies which turned away a Jewish couple seeking to provide foster care & refuses to place children with families who are not Protestant, heterosexual married couples. Maggie Siddiqi, Director of the Faith & Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress stated, “This decision weaponizes our nation’s right to religious freedom in order to justify discrimination in the foster care system, depriving children of welcoming homes. It is wrong for the government to hand out taxpayer dollars to a foster agency & then sanction that agency’s discrimination against certain qualified prospective parents, whether they be Jewish, LGBTQ or a member of some other minority group. Such approval raises serious constitutional concerns & imposes one narrow religious viewpoint on others.” Christina Wilson Remlin Children’s Rights lead counsel concluded, “Let’s call this decision what it is: state-sanctioned & government-funded discrimination. By granting a waiver that allows agencies to accept federal & state dollars while turning away otherwise qualified families & individuals solely on the basis of religious belief, the Trump administration is sending the message that Jewish, LGBTQ, Muslim & other non-Christian individuals are less deserving of equal protection under the law. We disagree. Moreover, South Carolina is already facing a severe shortage of foster homes & inappropriately over uses group homes. Limiting the pool of prospective foster & adoptive parents based on their failure to pass a religious litmus test will deprive children of suitable, loving & stable homes.”
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