WASHINGTON—By enacting laws protecting the conscience rights ofadoption and foster care providers, "Kansas and Oklahoma are keeping kids first,"said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the United States Conferenceof Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and HumanDevelopment, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCBCommittee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln,Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The governors of Kansas and Oklahoma on May 18 and May 11,respectively, signed legislation ensuring that faith-based adoption and fostercare providers can provide these services in accordance with their deeply heldreligious beliefs or moral convictions.
The three USCCB chairmen stated the following:
"Kansas and Oklahoma are keeping kids first by allowing all capableadoption and foster care providers to serve children in need. The opioid crisishas caused a large increase in the number of children entering the foster caresystem. We need more, not fewer, agencies to serve children who need lovinghomes."
At least nine states have now passed similar laws, includingVirginia, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas,and now Kansas and Oklahoma. These laws do not exclude any providers orprohibit anyone from adopting but merely ensure the inclusion of faith-basedproviders.
At the federal level, the USCCB supports the Child WelfareProvider Inclusion Act of 2017 (H.R. 1881 / S. 811), which protects childwelfare providers from being discriminated against by federal or stategovernment entities due to the providers' religious beliefs or moralconvictions.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, ArchbishopJoseph Kurtz, Bishop James Conley, USCCB, Kansas Adoption Protection Act,Oklahoma Senate Bill 1140, Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, adoption,foster care, keep kids first, freedom to serve
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