Faith-based providers and individuals helping children should not be prevented from providing welfare services because of their religious faith, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. The lawmakers say some people in positions of power are essentially discriminating against people of faith and seeking to force providers out of these services because of the providers’ beliefs.
Enzi and Kelly introduced legislation today to ensure faith-based institutions and individuals can continue to provide services for those who need them.
For decades, adoption and foster care providers – secular, government-operated and faith-based – have worked side-by-side to serve infants, expectant mothers, adoptive and foster families, children, teens and families under economic and emotional pressure. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 would prevent providers of child welfare services from being excluded from offering these services based on their religious beliefs.
“Faith-based charities and organizations do an amazing job of administering adoption, foster care and a host of other services. Limiting their work because someone might disagree with what they believe only ends up hurting the families they could be bringing together,” said Enzi. “I’ve worked for years to support bills and ideas that help children find safe, loving and permanent homes. This legislation will help make sure faith-based providers and individuals can continue to work alongside other agencies and organizations, and that adoptive and foster parents have access to providers of their choice.”
“This bill is about fairness and inclusion. It is about ensuring that everyone who wants to help provide foster or adoptive care to children is able to have a seat at the table,” said Kelly. “Faith-based organizations have historically played a downright heroic role in caring for our nation’s most vulnerable and needy kids. In so many ways their work is unparalleled. There is no good reason why any of these care providers should be disqualified from working with their government to serve America’s families simply because of their deeply-rooted religious beliefs.”
Adoption and foster care is intensely personal and emotional for all those concerned. All participants, infants, children, teens and families involved have benefited from having a range of service options to best suit their emotional, spiritual and financial needs and circumstances, according to Enzi and Kelly.
Click here to read the legislation.