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Lankford Champions Efforts to Protect Faith-Based Child Welfare Service Providers

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act. This legislation protects child welfare providers from being discriminated against for acting in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs and 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. 

Lankford and Scott were joined by Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Braun (R-IN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), and John Barrasso (R-WY).

“Kids deserve a safe and permanent home, and faith-based organizations diligently serve our foster kids to make that a reality. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration and some in Congress are forcing Americans to check their faith at the door if they want to help children in need. We can help place children in good homes while not discriminating against those who choose to live their faith. There is no reason we cannot have both faith-based options and non-faith-based options to help children in a crisis. When it comes to serving our most vulnerable kids, we need all the help we can get,” said Lankford.  

“Faith-based foster care organizations have provided reliable, effective resources to countless families and children with nowhere else to go,” said Scott. “Despite their success, President Biden has caved to the far-left, making it harder for these organizations to provide critical services and leaving the kids who need them most out in the cold. I’m fighting back to protect religious freedom and support the incredible work of these invaluable organizations.”  

“Adoption is truly Heaven’s work, yet the religious organizations that work tirelessly to place children in the best homes are often legally required to ignore their religious doctrine or risk closing their doors for good,” said Risch. “In an effort to protect religious adoption and foster care agencies, with my colleagues, we are introducing the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act to protect faith-based adoption agencies from this discrimination and ensure they can to provide life-changing adoption services.” 

“The Biden administration’s attacks on law-abiding citizens exercising their deeply held religious convictions must stop,” said Cotton. “Our legislation will help protect faith-based organizations from government overreach and discrimination and provide care for children in need.” 

“Child service providers who hold fast to their faith and find loving homes to children are an inspiration, and don’t deserve to be penalized or targeted by the Biden administration,” said Hyde-Smith. “This is reasonable legislation that protects religious freedoms and supports an all-hands-on-deck approach to ensuring the best welfare for vulnerable children.” 

“Bureaucratic nonsense should never get in the way of helping kids in need,” said Cramer. “Activists on the left have tried for years to discriminate against child welfare agencies for their religious beliefs. We need to support faith based adoption and foster agencies, recognizing their faith compels compassion and their call to service.” 

“For decades, faith-based nonprofits have been reliable partners with state and local child welfare agencies,” said Rubio. “Now, radical social activists are attempting to stop them from offering foster children essential services.  I’m proud to join this bill, which would strengthen religious liberty protections and ensure these organizations can continue caring for our children.” 

“Faith-based child welfare providers perform invaluable work every day to help struggling children,” said Blackburn. “The Biden administration has unfairly targeted these faith-based organizations in order to appease their radical left-wing base. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act will safeguard these providers from religious discrimination by federal agencies.” 

“Faith-based adoption and foster care providers do incredible work finding loving homes for our nation’s orphans,” said Wicker. “It is deeply disturbing that certain states are seeking to drive these providers out of the marketplace because of their religious and moral beliefs, leaving children to pay the price. This legislation would protect federally-funded child welfare providers from discrimination based on their beliefs, allowing them to continue serving children in need.” 

“Faith-based organizations have a long history of connecting vulnerable children with loving homes,” said Cornyn. “This legislation would ensure child welfare providers can continue their life-changing work without fear of religious discrimination that runs counter to our Constitution.” 

Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced companion legislation in the House.

“Faith-based organizations have always played an extraordinary role in caring for our nation’s most vulnerable children. Millions of Americans are better off today because of their noble work,”Kelly said. “Since coming into office, President Biden has discriminated against these faith-based providers because of their deeply held religious beliefs. I’m proud to work with Senator Tim Scott on this commonsense legislation to protect faith-based organizations who are simply seeking a level playing field to help those in need.” 

The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act has been endorsed by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Heritage Action, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee and the Family Research Council.