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BY: Bill McMorris
The Trump administration is working to protect religious adoption and foster care agencies that have been threatened by "burdensome regulations" imposed in the closing days of the Obama presidency.
Days - Office - President - Obama - Regulations
Days before leaving office President Obama implemented new regulations that targeted religious foster care providers by requiring recipients of federal assistance to abandon "discriminatory" standards in placement. South Carolina asked the Department of Health and Human Services for an exemption to protect one of its largest foster care agencies, Miracle Hills Ministries, which only places children in Christian households. The Trump administration granted the exemption, saying that religious partners were vital to caring for children. The Obama-era rules could run afoul of religious liberty protections, according to Lynn Johnson, assistant secretary for the department's Administration for Children and Families.
"Faith-based organizations that provide foster care services not only perform a great service for their communities, they are exercising a legally protected right to practice their faith through good works," Johnson said in a statement. "The government should not be in the business of forcing foster care providers to close their doors because of their faith. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right."
Providers - Doors - Regulators - States - Illinois
Religious providers have been forced to close their doors after regulators in states such as Illinois and Massachusetts because they did not place children in homosexual households. Johnson said the federal government should not pressure religious believers to violate the tenets of their faith in order to serve vulnerable children. The United States faces a shortage of providers even as the demand for them has increased amid the opioid crisis, according to the agency.
"By granting this request to South Carolina, HHS is putting foster care capacity needs ahead of burdensome regulations that are in conflict with the law," Johnson said. "It protects minors who are in need of as...
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