FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Lifeline Children’s Services Opposes HHS Proposed Rule on Foster Care Placement
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – — Lifeline Children’s Services, the largest evangelical adoption and child welfare agency in the United States, opposes new foster care placement requirements proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The proposed rule would categorize agencies as not being “safe or appropriate” by refusing to affirm the child’s LGBTQI+ identity based on the agency’s religious or deeply-held beliefs on marriage and family.
In a public comment on the proposed rule change, Herbie Newell, President and Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services, stated that it would discriminate against faith-based agencies and would result in fewer foster care placements, thus adversely affecting vulnerable children.
“We affirm the desire to consistently act in a manner that pursues the best interests and well-being of children at risk of entering, or in the U.S. foster care system. We can find common ground in efforts to prevent a child or youth grappling with gender identity or sexual orientation from being the recipient of mockery or abuse. Families who are recruited, trained, assessed, and approved by Lifeline are held to the expectation of fair and equal treatment of all recipients of services,” Newell stated.
“Yet, the language of the proposed regulation has the potential to create barriers for both faith-based families and agencies who do not fully adhere to all the requirements laid out by the Administration of Children and Families (ACF). Ultimately, a reduction in homes or access to homes creates greater levels of risk and uncertainty to the already vulnerable populations of children and youth in foster care.“
Lifeline joins other child welfare organizations such as CAFO in petitioning for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act and other laws that would help create more safe and loving homes for children in vulnerable circumstances.
Lifeline Children’s Services is the largest Evangelical Christian adoption agency in America, with offices in 18 states and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. It serves vulnerable children and families through private domestic and international adoption, family restoration and pregnancy counseling.