Biden Administration Wants To Force Foster Parents To Sign LGBTQ Pledge

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Feb 02, 2024 - 10:40 PM

Authored by Alice Giordano via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Republican lawmakers and Christian organizations are reacting with outrage to a newly proposed policy by the  Biden administration that would force foster parents to sign a contract agreeing to promote gender ideology in their homes.

Some U.S. foster children are issued trash bags for their belongings when taken into state custody. (Hope in a Suitcase)

“The Safe & Appropriate Foster Care Placement Requirements” calls for states to ensure that LGBTQ children are placed in environments  “free from hostility or discrimination.”

It also requires potential foster parents to undergo training to develop “knowledge and skills to support the needs of LGBTQ children.”

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) cites what it calls a “recent confidential survey” showing that 32 percent of foster children between the ages of 12 and 21 identify as having a diverse sexual orientation or gender identity.

The NPRM also cites a 2019 study by a group of psychology professors that found that LGBTQ+ youth are almost 2.5 times as likely as heterosexual youth to experience foster care placement.

The Biden administration also cites multiple recent surveys by The Trevor Project showing that foster children identifying as LGBTQ+ are 50 percent less likely to be suicidal, use drugs, or have mental health issues if they are allowed to talk openly about their sexual identity with caregivers.

Organizations like The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention accuse the Biden administration of “cherry picking” evidence to create a “false assumption” that affirming a child’s LGBTQ sexuality is the only way to provide a safe foster home.

Contrary to such assertions by HHS, a foster family should not have to agree with every political, spiritual, and other belief of a child to be deemed “safe and proper,” the group wrote in a statement.

“A foster parent’s biblical belief regarding sexuality and gender identity does not detract from their ability to warmly welcome a vulnerable child into their home. Inevitably, there will be many beliefs on which the child and family disagree.”

The group predicts that if the mandate is implemented, it will cause a substantial reduction in the already deficient number of foster homes in the U.S.

Sam Whiting, a staff attorney at the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI), told The Epoch Times that the mandate potentially puts foster parents who also have biological children in danger of being labeled abusive and could even lead to the state attempting to take custody of their children.

“If you have a foster family that doesn’t believe in teaching gender-affirming ideology to their own kid, the next step could be to refer them to CPS,” said Mr. Whiting.

Earlier this month, six Republican senators sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra expressing what they called “profound concerns” over the proposed policy.

All children in foster care, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve a safe and proper placement,” the senators wrote.

“However, this proposal goes beyond statutory requirements to force states to adopt extreme gender ideology in their placement decisions.”

Targeting ‘Faith-Based Child Welfare Providers’

The U.S. senators who sent the letter to Mr. Becerra are Roger Marshall (R-Kan.),  Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.),  Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Michael Lee (R-Utah), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.).

They accused the Biden administration of using the LGBTQ+ foster care policy as part of a “campaign to undermine faith-based child welfare providers” under the guise of “advancing equity.”

This will “alienate, if not exclude” many families of faith that were considering fostering—a prediction that has already proven true in some states, the lawmakers warned.

According to a study by the Becket Fund For Religious Liberty, when the city of Boston stopped partnering with faith-based organizations to provide foster care for children, the number who aged out of the system rather than be placed in a home increased by a staggering 50 percent.

The study also showed that Christian homes are three times more likely to foster a child and two times more likely to adopt a foster child than non-Christian homes.

Attorneys general from 19 states also submitted letters of opposition to the policy. They called the proposal unconstitutional and potentially illegal, citing the Supreme Court landmark case Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In that ruling, the Court determined that the government cannot prohibit a religious organization from excluding same-sex couples from becoming foster parents.

The Biden Administration is proposing a rule that is unconstitutional, without authority from Congress, and which almost certainly will drive parents of faith out of the foster care system,” Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers wrote.

Opposition has come from child protection agencies including the Texas Department of Family Protective Services and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. Both agencies said the rule would be a “further disincentive” to foster care providers.

The Biden administration did not respond to inquiries from The Epoch Times about the criticism.

Some states are already rejecting potential foster parents over their religious beliefs against LGBTQ ideology.

Adoptive Parents Being Rejected

Catholic World Report in August reported on an Oregon widowed mother of five who was prohibited from adopting two siblings from foster care because she did not support teaching alternative sexual orientation to children.

In Massachusetts, a Catholic couple has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Children and Families (DCF)  for rejecting their application after they passed a home study and underwent extensive training.

According to their lawsuit,  Mike and Kitty Burke were rejected because of answers they gave about gender dysphoria and a child’s sexual orientation. Mike, an Iraq War veteran, and Kitty, a special ed assistant, were denied even though they were willing to take hard-to-place children with special needs.

After months of interviews and training, and after years of heartbreak, we were on the verge of finally becoming parents,” the couple said in a statement.

“We were absolutely devastated to learn that Massachusetts would rather children sleep in the hallways of hospitals than let us welcome children in need into our home.”

A DCF spokesperson told The Epoch Times that the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

According to a 2022 DCF report, more than 10,000 children in Massachusetts are under the care of the DCF.