published : 2023-11-28

GOP AGs Sound the Alarm: New Foster Care Rule Could Exclude Christians

A group of Republican attorneys general are pushing back against a proposed rule that they argue will effectively ban Christian families from fostering kids and jeopardize the foster care system nationwide.

A group of Republican attorneys general, including Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, discuss the proposed rule changes during a press conference. (Photo taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, along with 18 of his GOP colleagues, sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, alerting them that the new proposed rule violates the Constitution and discriminates against people of the Christian faith.

The rule, known as Safe and Appropriate Foster Care Placement Requirements, would require foster parents to use a foster child's 'identified pronouns, chosen name, and allow the child to dress in an age-appropriate manner that reflects their self-identified gender identity and expression.'

The attorneys general argue that this rule seeks to remove faith-based providers from the foster care system if they do not conform their religious beliefs on sexual orientation and gender identity.

They contend that the proposed rule will harm children by limiting the number of available foster homes, jeopardize kinship placements, and increase costs while decreasing care options for states.

Christian families and children participating in foster care program share a heartwarming moment of connection. (Photo taken with Nikon D850)

Furthermore, the AGs emphasize that caring for children in need is a duty of the Christian faith, and without the involvement of Christian families, the foster care system would suffer greatly.

They highlight the significant contributions of faith-based organizations in fostering, such as a faith-based group in Arkansas, which recruited almost half of the foster homes in the state. In New Mexico, every private placement agency is Christian.

Studies also support the vital role of faith-based organizations in fostering, showing that foster parents recruited through religious organizations foster children 2.6 years longer than the average foster parent. Additionally, practicing Christians are three times more likely to consider fostering than the general population.

The attorneys general stress that instead of decreasing the number of foster homes, the federal government should be focused on increasing them. They argue that the proposed rule will drive individuals and organizations of faith away, placing an even greater strain on the foster care system.

Supporters of faith-based organizations rally outside the Department of Health and Human Services, advocating for the inclusion of Christian families in the foster care system. (Photo taken with Sony Alpha a7 III)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall accuses President Biden of harassing his state and asserts that the values of his state are not for sale. He vows to fight the administration every step of the way to protect Alabama's faith-based foster care and adoption community.

As of now, the Department of Health and Human Services has not responded to the attorneys general's letter. The fate of the proposed rule and its potential impact on Christian families participating in the foster care system remains uncertain.