03.10.21

Cassidy, Scott Introduce Bill to Protect Faith-Based Foster Care Providers

Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act Represents Important Step to Protect Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) joined Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) in introducing the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act. 

The government should not make it more difficult for a child in need of a home to find a safe, loving family,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It is wrong and offensive that discrimination against child welfare providers because of their religious beliefs even exists today. Parents who choose to adopt or foster a child should be able to get help from the organization of their choice.”

“In South Carolina and across the country, faith-based foster care providers support the 400,000 children in our foster care system who—through no fault of their own—have nowhere else to go,” said Senator Scott. “At a time when religious freedoms are under assault, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act is a necessary protection for those who are living according to their convictions. I am grateful my colleagues are standing with me to protect this most fundamental right.”

Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS.), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), James Risch (R-ID), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Rick Scott (R-FL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and John Kennedy (R-LA) are also co-sponsors. 

U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-16) introduced companion legislation in the House. 

“Several state and local governments are requiring faith-based adoption agencies to choose between helping kids and violating their religious faith,” said Rep. Kelly. “This blatant attack on the First Amendment makes it even harder for children to find loving homes. We must stand up for kids, protect these organizations, and defend religious liberty.  I am proud author this legislation.” 

Supporting organizations include: Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Heritage Action, and the Family Research Council. 

Background

  • The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act would protect child welfare providers from being discriminated against for acting in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs.
  • Specifically, the bill would prohibit federal, state, and local government agencies that receive federal adoption assistance funding from discriminating against child welfare service providers based on the providers’ unwillingness to take action contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • This would include all agencies that receive funding under Part B (Child and Family Services) or Part E (Federal Payments for Foster Care, Prevention, and Permanency) of Title IV of the Social Security Act.

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