Policy Briefs

ERLC Supports the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act

July 9, 2018

Download the Child Welfare Coaltion Letter

Southern Baptists affirm adoption as a central theological theme that provides practical application in our families and communities. We adopt because when we were most destitute, we ourselves were adopted into the family of God. A recent resolution of our Convention states, “In the gospel we have received the ‘Spirit of adoption’ whereby we are no longer spiritual orphans but are now beloved children of God and joint heirs with Christ. We pray what God is doing in creating an adoption culture in so many churches and families can point us to a gospel oneness that is determined not by ‘the flesh,’ or race, or economics, or cultural sameness but by the Spirit, unity, and peace in Christ Jesus.”

Protecting the welfare of children is one of the clearest ways to demonstrate to the watching world what is most valuable to us. The plight of over 440,000 children in foster care and 110,000 waiting to be adopted in the U.S. warrants a resounding call to gladly welcome children into our families. Until every child has a home, we ought to make great efforts to remove barriers between waiting children and loving families. Every single child, both born and unborn, has inherent dignity. Through adoption, we demonstrate to these children that they are valuable, wanted, and loved.

A diversity of adoption and foster care providers increases the number of children placed in forever families. However, laws in several states are decreasing the number and diversity of child welfare providers. Religious service providers and families represent a high volume of participants in child welfare, yet many organizations are being forced to compromise their sincerely held beliefs in order to serve children. Limiting the number of child welfare providers delays the day when a child is united with their forever family.

The ERLC supports the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017, H.R. 1881 and S.811. The act is needed to provide further protections for child welfare service providers who are being subjected to discrimination because of their sincerely held religious and moral convictions. Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies ought not have to choose between providing children with loving families and following their religious convictions about marriage and family. This act allows faith-based groups to continue partnering with the government to provide adoptive services to families while maintaining their religious views.