FCAA: Policy Statement on Aderholt Amendment

FCAA: Policy Statement on Aderholt Amendment

A message from the FCAA National Board of Directors:

Background:  The FCAA National Board of Directors is composed of a diverse group of professionals who have a wide variety of previous exposure to, and life experiences within, the child welfare system, including foster care. Based on our professional and personal experiences, we are in opposition to the  “license to discriminate” against children, youth, and families according to moral and religious reasons outlined in the Aderholt Amendment. We are also in opposition to the Aderholt Amendment’s proposed punitive funding cut to states that do not permit discrimination based on religious and moral beliefs.

On July 11, 2018 the U.S. House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment to a funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Voting Record: 29-23). Known as the Aderholt Amendment, the amendment would allow child welfare service providers to discriminate against children and youth in foster care based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. It would also permit discrimination against foster and adoptive parents.

Under this amendment, discrimination would be allowed in foster care, adoption, prevention, support, family preservation, and reunification services.

  • The amendment would authorize states to use public funding for private agencies for the care of youth for whom a state child welfare agency is responsible, while enabling those agencies to deny placement, recruitment, training, supervision and support to prospective foster and adoptive parents based on the agency’s moral or religious convictions or policies.
  • It would also prohibit the denial by states of a contract, grant, or license with a private agency based on the private agency’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.
  • This could also include subjecting LGBTQ youth to conversion therapy, forcing youth to engage in religious activities that do not align with their personal beliefs, and denying access to reproductive healthcare. Research shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system and especially vulnerable to disparities in care and services while in foster care.
  • Furthermore, the amendment enables “discrimination against LGBTQ people, same-sex couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other qualified parents to whom an agency has an objection.”*  Instead of broadening the placement options for children and youth in care, this amendment places a discriminatory restriction on the number of placement options available.
  • Lastly, if states, tribes, or localities do not allow current or potential child welfare service providers to discriminate on religious or moral grounds,  15 percent of their allocated child welfare welfare funds would be withheld. In effect this amendment would impose a financial penalty on states, tribes, and localities that did NOT allow for discrimination.

Discrimination is wrong, and it violates the rights of children, youth and families. There is widespread scientific consensus that children raised by same sex parents fare just as well as children raised by parents of the opposite sex on an extensive range of indicators of well-being.

FCAA does not believe this amendment is in the best interest of children, youth, and families served by the child welfare system. FCAA strongly opposes the Aderholt amendment, which would allow any government-licensed or -funded agency using tax dollars to discriminate against children by choosing not to find or place them in a foster or adoptive family, or provide other child welfare supports.  We ask members of Congress to vote NO on the Aderholt amendment.

Recommendations for action:

If you have any questions about how the impact would impact child welfare in your state, or if you would like to share your story, please contact FCAA’s Policy & Advocacy Committee at policy@fostercarealumni.org or visit our website (FCAA).

*For more information on how the the Aderholt Amendment impacts prospective foster families, visit the Human Rights Campaign here: HRC

For the full text of the Aderholt Amendment, visit the U.S. House of Representatives website: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Funding Bill

About Foster Care Alumni of America: Founded and led by alumni of care in 2004, FCAA empowers former foster youth of all ages to build a supportive community and use our collective voice for change. Our mission is to connect alumni to transform policy and practice, ensuring opportunity for people in and from foster care.


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