Attorney General Ken Paxton led a multistate coalition in an amicus brief filed with the United States Supreme Court in support of faith-based child welfare organizations. Discriminating against faith-based organizations that partner with state agencies based on their religious beliefs would not only be a blatant violation of the Constitution’s religious liberty protections, it would greatly diminish the number of child-placement agencies available to children and limit placement and care options across the nation.
“Foster care and adoption programs should be focused on the best interest of children, and those interests are not served when the government excludes faith-based organizations from participating based solely on their religious beliefs. Allowing qualified faith-based organizations to place and care for children in need increases the chances of finding those children a safe home where they will receive the love and care every child deserves,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Cooperation between states and faith-based groups is fundamental to child welfare, just as religious liberty is to our Constitution.”
In Sharonell Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the City refused to continue working with Catholic Social Services and foster care families like Fulton because of their religious views. Catholic Social Services has been serving the children of Philadelphia for over a century and Fulton has fostered 40 children for more than 25 years.
Unlike Philadelphia, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services welcomes the opportunity to work with both faith-based and secular private child-placing agencies to find homes for children in the foster care system.
In 2017, Texas enacted House Bill 3859, which protects the religious liberty of child-placing agencies and prohibits the State from granting or denying funding to such organizations based on their religious beliefs. It also prohibits government entities from discriminating or taking adverse action against a child-placing agency if that provider declines to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for child welfare services that conflict with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
Texas is joined in this amicus brief by Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.
To view a copy of the amicus brief, click here.