A new bill has been proposed, aimed at protecting the religious liberties of charities, specifically foster and adoptive agencies. As noted by The Washington Free Beacon, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act was sponsored by Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly.
The bill aims to protect agencies from being cut off from federal funding due to their beliefs or sanctioned due to anti-discrimination laws. One such example noted by the Free Beacon was Catholic Social Services. The city of Philadelphia cut off support of the organization, citing the organization’s policy to only accept heterosexual prospective parents as being their reason to cut support.
Pennsylvania is not the only state taking action against religious organizations. Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Illinois, and California have all disallowed placement of children with any adoption agency that will not allow same-sex applicants.
Rep. Kelly stands firmly behind the bill, noting the importance of protecting such organizations in order to serve more children. Kelly notes, “We think every child deserves a loving home, and the only issue we should be thinking about is the issue of taking care of these kids…There are so many children in need.”
Catholic Social Services now states that they have 30 homes to accommodate children in need, yet they are not being utilized due to anti-discrimination policies in Philadelphia. This is frustrating to some supporting the bill as Philadelphia notes it is in desperate need of foster parents, requesting 300 homes.
Kelly is urging the bill’s passage, noting that it is more about making sure that the need for foster homes is met and making the issue about the children and not politics. As of 2016, 437,000 children were in the foster care system and that number only continues to climb. This especially true due to the current opioid crisis.
Terry Schilling, executive director at the American Principles Project, supports the bill stating, “Faith-based adoption and foster care providers are far too important to our families and to our communities to be shut down by discriminatory governments,” Schilling said. “We urge Congress to pass it swiftly so that no more faith-based adoption or foster care services are shut down, and every child gets the chance to find a loving family.”
The Free Beacon notes that the bill is being presented to House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resource before moving towards passage.