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 2017 would prevent providers of child welfare services from being excluded from offering these services based on their religious beliefs.
“All across the country, faith-based charities and organizations are working hard to find children safe, loving and permanent homes,” Enzi said. “This is wonderful work, and we should be looking to encourage these organizations, not limiting their efforts because of their religious beliefs. This legislation would help ensure that faith-based organizations providers and individuals can continue their work, and that adoptive and foster parents have access to providers of their choice.”
“Faith-based organizations have historically played a heroic role in caring for our country’s most vulnerable kids,” Kelly said. “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. When it comes to helping kids and making families stronger, all service providers – religious or otherwise – should have a seat at the table. That’s what this bill is about. It is 100 percent inclusive and child-focused. No provider should ever be forced to violate their faith in order to help give each kid a loving and caring family.”
Adoption and foster care is intensely personal and emotional for all those concerned. All participants involved – infants, children, teens and families – 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.
Cosponsors of the legislation in the Senate include Senators James Lankford, R-Okla., Mike Lee, R-Utah, James Risch, R-Idaho., James Inhofe, R-Okla., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb. Cosponsors of the legislation in the House include Representatives Pete Sessions, R-Texas, Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, Christopher Smith, R-N.J., Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., Walter Jones, R-N.C., Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., Steve King, R-Iowa, Gary Palmer, R-Ala., Alexander Mooney, R-W.Va. and Glenn Grothman, R-Wis.Click here to read the legislation.