Children’s Rights condemns the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule change removing non-discrimination protections based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in federal health and human services programs, including child welfare. This rule would grant a license to discriminate, ultimately harming vulnerable young people in the foster care system. The ruling will be formally published on Monday, January 12, and will take effect on February 11, 2021.
Christina Wilson Remlin, lead counsel at Children’s Rights, issued the following statement:
“It is unconscionable that in its closing days, this administration is finalizing a rule change that would roll back non-discrimination provisions for programs funded with taxpayer dollars through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including child welfare agencies. For the last year, Children’s Rights has spoken out against this rule change that would grant states a license to discriminate against LGBTQ families and cause profound harm to the most vulnerable children among us.
First, the new rule would enshrine discrimination into federal law by allowing child welfare providers to reject prospective foster and adoptive parents on the basis of non-merit factors such as sexual orientation and religion. Second, given that a greater percentage of same-sex couples are raising adopted children than different-sex couples, the proposed rule would further restrict an already limited pool of foster and adoptive parents. Third, the proposed rule would further harm LGBTQ children in foster care by sending them the message that LGBTQ people are not valued.
“At this somber moment in our nation, Children’s Rights calls on the government to put the interests of children above politics and encourage placing them with safe and loving families.”