(USNewsMag.com) – On Nov. 27, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, along with 18 of his Republican colleagues, sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding a new rule for foster care families they say violates the Constitution and discriminates against Christians.
The new rule, Safe and Appropriate Foster Care Placement Requirements, includes mandates that the attorneys general say effectively exclude Christian families from fostering kids. Under the new rule, foster families and parents are required to use a foster child’s “identified pronouns and chosen name.” In an age-appropriate manner, the child must also be allowed to dress in a way the child feels best “reflects their self-identified gender identity and expression.”
The attorneys general state that the rule would also cause harm to children in the foster care system by “limiting the number of available foster homes.” It would also cause harm to families “by risking kinship placements.” States would also face “increasing costs and decreasing care options” due to the rule. The AGs argue that without Christian families opening their homes to foster care kids, the foster care system would be crippled.
The letter adds that the government should be looking to “increase the number of foster homes, not decrease them,” and that limiting foster homes would cause a strain on the system.
The letter drafters believe the rule attempts to indirectly accomplish “what the Supreme Court found unconstitutional” in its ruling two years ago. The Supreme Court ruled in the 2021 case Fulton v. City of Philadelphia that it was a violation of the First Amendment for the city to refuse to contract with a Catholic social services group unless the group agreed to allow same-sex couples to be certified as foster parents.
By 2027, the number of children anticipated to be in the foster care system is about 416,500, an increase from 391,000 children in the foster care system in 2022.
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