Rep. Kelly, Sen. Enzi Introduce the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act

Mar 4, 2015

Enzi, Kelly head congressional effort to ensure children can
continue to get care from people of faith

Washington, D.C. — Faith-based organizations play an important role in communities across the country helping children in need. Unfortunately, there are some states preventing faith-based organizations from providing welfare services because of their religious beliefs, according to U.S Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.

The lawmakers introduced legislation today to ensure faith-based institutions and individuals can continue to provide services for those who need them.

For decades, adoption and foster care providers – secular, government-operated and faith-based – have worked side-by-side to serve infants, expectant mothers, adoptive and foster families, children, teens and families under economic and emotional pressure. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2015 would prevent providers of child welfare services from being excluded by states from offering these services based on their religious beliefs.

“Whether providing adoption services, foster care work or counseling for children, faith-based organizations shouldn’t have to worry that they will be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. This type of discrimination hurts the families and children who rely on these organizations most of all,” said Enzi. “This legislation will help ensure faith-based providers and individuals can continue to work alongside other agencies and organizations and that adoptive and foster parents have access to the provider of their choice.”

“Faith-based organizations have always played an extraordinary role in caring for our nation’s most vulnerable children. Millions of Americans are better off today because of their noble work,” said Kelly. “This commonsense bill simply ensures that these child welfare providers can keep doing what they do best and are treated the same as the rest. When it comes to helping kids and making families stronger, all service providers – religious or otherwise – should have a seat at the table. That’s what this bill is about. It is 100 percent inclusive and child-focused. No provider should ever have to forfeit their First Amendment rights in order to create a better life for a child.”

Adoption and foster care is intensely personal and emotional for all those concerned.  All participants, infants, children, teens and families involved have benefited from having a range of service options to best suit their emotional, spiritual, and financial needs and circumstances, according to Enzi and Kelly.

Click here to read the legislation.