Kennedy, Scott, colleagues introduce legislation to protect faith-based foster care providers
Mar 10 2021
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and fellow senators in introducing the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, which protects child welfare providers from being discriminated against for acting in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs.
“Faith-based child welfare providers are an essential part of caring for some of the most vulnerable children in our communities. I’m deeply saddened to see some government officials punish foster services for their sincere religious beliefs. That discrimination comes directly at the expense of boys and girls who are waiting for loving, healthy homes. No government agency that discriminates against people based on their faith—which goes against the interests of foster children—deserves taxpayer dollars,” said Kennedy.
“In South Carolina and across the country, faith-based foster care providers support the 400,000 children in our foster care system who—through no fault of their own—have nowhere else to go. At a time when religious freedoms are under assault, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act is a necessary protection for those who are living according to their convictions. I am grateful my colleagues are standing with me to protect this most fundamental right,” said Scott.
The bill prohibits federal, state and local government agencies that receive federal adoption assistance funding from discriminating against child welfare service providers based on the providers’ unwillingness to take action contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.
This would include all agencies that receive funding under Part B (Child and Family Services) or Part E (Federal Payments for Foster Care, Prevention and Permanency) of Title IV of the Social Security Act.
Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), James Risch (R-Idaho), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) also co-sponsored the legislation.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Heritage Action and Family Research Council support the bill.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) introduced companion legislation in the House.