AEI child welfare scholar on faith-based foster-care agencies: children first

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At Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump stated that his administration, “is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply held beliefs.” The President’s remarks come after HHS granted a waiver to a South Carolina foster-family agency, exempting it from an Obama-era regulation requiring that federally funded agencies serve everyone, even if doing so violates the organization’s religious principles.

In her recent article, Naomi Schaefer Riley, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), discusses this contentious matter, and offers that the well-being of foster children should come first.

Among Riley’s key points:

Most foster-care agencies are faith-based. Some 440,000 kids are in foster care in the U.S.; if we shut down faith-based foster agencies, those children will have a much harder time finding homes

• It is safe to say that most foster families in this country take in needy children because their religious beliefs tell them to do so. Foster agencies recruit these families, train them, and even certify them in some cases; they also offer emotional and logistical support for months and even years after placement. Religious foster families are among those most likely to take in children with special needs.

• What faith-based and secular foster-family agencies have in common, or should, is an agreement that the needs of children come first. Enforcing the Obama administration dictates will result in fewer options for foster kids and fewer family placements…Advocates for foster children should support agencies that show success in placing kids with good families—regardless of how those agencies make such decisions.

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