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Biden Under Fire for Recent Policy that Stops Christian Families from Fostering Children

Republican AGs Demand Preservation of Constitutional Rights in Foster Care

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A number of attorneys general, primarily from the Republican party, are challenging a recent policy implemented by the Biden administration. This policy, they argue, threatens to push away Christian families who have traditionally been mainstays in the fostering system, potentially destabilizing it throughout the country.

Steve Marshall, Alabama’s Attorney General, led the charge by penning a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), warning them about the dangers of the new rule which he and 18 of his party colleagues believe infringes on constitutional rights and unfairly discriminates against individuals advocating the Christian faith.

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As well as purported discrimination against people of the Christian faith, the attorneys general warn that this new policy may harm children by reducing the number of available homes for fostering. They caution that the new requirements could disturb family connections and increase the financial and logistical burdens for states by limiting care options.

The rule in question, known as the Safe and Appropriate Foster Care Placement Requirements, obligates foster parents to recognize and use the child’s chosen pronouns, name, and self-identified gender expressions. The guideline also requires that the child dresses in a way that they believe reflects their true, self-identified gender identity.

This policy, according to the attorneys generals’ joint letter, attempts to indirectly bring about the same disruptive effects that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional two years prior. This potentially controversial shift could force faith-based providers out of the foster system if they refuse to adjust their religious beliefs regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

The letter highlights HHS’s own projections that suggest the number of children in foster care may rise from the present count of approximately 391,000 to 416,500 by the year 2027. The attorneys general emphasize the importance of the Christian faith’s role in caring for children in need, noting that the foster care system could potentially face significant strains if Christian families withdraw their services.

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“We rely heavily on individuals and faith-based organizations within the foster care system,” the letter states. As an example, they refer to the significant impact of faith-based groups in Arkansas who have been responsible for recruiting nearly 50% of the state’s foster homes and the Christian agencies in New Mexico that operate every private placement agency in the state.

A 2002 study referenced in the letter reveals that on average, foster parents recruited through a religious organization maintain the fostering relationship for approximately 2.6 years longer than other foster parents. Furthermore, findings from a Barna Group study indicate that practicing Christians are three times more likely to consider fostering children than the average person in the general population.

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The authors of the letter insist that the proposed rule might repel faith-based entities from the system. This could potentially increase the strain on the system by reducing the number of available foster homes. Stressing the importance of faith-based organization involvement, the attorneys general underline their essential contribution to bolstering the number of foster homes.

Their argument continues to underscore the state’s need for a proactive federal government that aims to grow the number of foster homes, instead of taking measures that could potentially reduce them. The attorneys general write, “The primary focus should be on enhancing the system rather than inadvertently reducing the valuable resources we currently utilize.”

“There’s a consistent attempt to corner states like ours with policy threats to withdraw federal funding for children in need if we don’t align with certain ideologies,” claims Alabama’s Attorney General Marshall, accusing President Biden of making intrusive overtures against his state. “However, our foundational values cannot be bartered.”

“Since the days of early Christianity, followers of the faith globally have responded to the call to provide a home for children who had none,” Marshall adds, pointing to the strength of Alabama’s faith-based foster care and adoption community, “We will fight any threats to our community every step of the way.”

According to Marshall, the strong community in Alabama, driven by faith, is dedicated to providing both a home and family for children in need, echoing a tradition stemming from the earliest days of the Christian faith. He emphasizes his commitment to stand against any action that jeopardizes this community.

The main concern of the attorneys general is to protect the foster care system. They assert that the newly proposed rule could remove essential faith-based providers from the system. Not only would this be a loss for the children, families, and states relying on these care homes but, they argue, a loss to the richness and diversity of the foster care system itself. They stress that such unnecessary attrition should be avoided.

Notably, Fox News Digital requested commentary from HHS on the matter; however, at the time of writing, the department has yet to provide a response. Regardless, it’s clear from the public and legal discourse that this new rule has become a critical point of discussion surrounding the foster care system and its future.

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