Eight of ten children were off to school, covering four campuses, three cities, and five grades. She stared with disbelief at the city official. It was mid-morning. The house was almost quiet except for the pair of three-year-olds in desperate need of a snack. And here he was, the city code inspector, in his municipal uniform declaring, “A neighbor has reported a code infraction.”
Heather and Rick knew that adoption can be a difficult and emotional process. In addition to their three biological children, the couple had adopted three other children from Korea.
But when their adoption provider contacted them about adopting a newborn baby with extensive medical needs, Heather and Rick had no idea what to expect. The baby girl had been born with many of her organs outside her body. Caring for her medical needs would bring unforeseeable challenges. There would be unspeakable joy. But there would also be sacrifice.
Children in foster care need more opportunities to find forever homes, not fewer. But state and local governments are taking actions that strip away those opportunities for kids. They are demanding that faith-based child welfare providers—who are often among the most effective at recruiting and training families to foster or adopt children in need—forfeit their religious convictions in order to continue helping children find homes.
Because of the increasing threats to faith-based providers that undermine the goal to help as many kids as possible find a forever home, several state legislatures have enacted laws that protect the ability of these providers to continue to serve kids and families in the state. Child welfare provider laws ensure valuable providers remain available to serve the most vulnerable in our midst.
Child welfare providers across the country, like those providing adoption and foster care services, are either closing their doors or facing lawsuits. Many who continue providing services are forced to shed their religious identity and convictions. Why? Several states have passed or introduced laws that threaten faith-based child welfare providers by revoking licenses, denying funding, or otherwise disqualifying them from contracting with the state unless they compromise their religious or moral convictions.