Children’s Rights Celebrates the Administration’s Agreement to Halt Discriminatory HHS Rule Change

On Wednesday, a federal court granted a joint request from Plaintiffs and the Biden Administration and ordered the immediate postponement of a discriminatory Trump-era regulation that would have allowed taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and other non-merit characteristics. This historic decision, agreed to by both sides, followed a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal and others on behalf of a foster youth and alumni group and LGBTQ service and advocacy organizations. The Trump-era regulation would have allowed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to discriminate when providing HHS grant-funded services. The court order postpones the effective date of the rule until August 2021.

In response, Christina Wilson-Remlin, lead counsel at Children’s Rights, released the following statement:

“We are grateful to this Administration for recognizing the harm this Trump-era rule would cause LGBTQ youth — who represent 30% of the foster care population — and their families in the child welfare system.  Discrimination against people who receive services from HHS grant programs is not only unjust, but also unlawful. Rolling back this rule is an important step in protecting the safety and well-being of communities that HHS is charged with protecting. But it’s only one of many. A number of states have enacted laws that explicitly allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against certain families. Congress has the opportunity to pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, first introduced by the late Rep. John Lewis and Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, on behalf of youth in the child welfare system, prospective foster and adoptive parents, and families touched by child welfare services. The ECDF Act ensures that no taxpayer-funded foster care or adoption agency can turn away otherwise qualified prospective parents or mistreat youth in foster care because of who they are, whom they love, or what they believe. Only federal legislation can put children first and put a stop to these unjust, cruel laws.”