This Week @ the Texas Legislature: Discrimination in Adoption, Foster Care and Child Welfare

by TFN
Click below for contact information of committee members.

Wednesday, April 15
House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues

On Wednesday, a state House committee will take up HB 3864, by state Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney. Like the recent Indiana law that caused such backlash, this bill would authorize state-sanctioned discrimination purportedly to protect religious freedom.

The primary consideration for a child welfare agency or organization should always be the best interests of the child — not advancing a sectarian belief or political agenda. This bill gets that backward.

Call the members of the Texas House Committee on Juvenile Justice & Family Issues and tell them to oppose HB 3864 because:

  • The bill is clearly intended to discriminate against LGBT children and families. As written the law would allow child welfare agencies (including adoption and foster care) that receive tax-payer dollars to pick and choose which children they will and will not work with.
  • The broad language of this bill would allow private agencies to discriminate against single or divorced people, interfaith couples, as well as people of different faiths than the agencies. All of these could potentially be turned away from providing homes to children – even if they are relatives of the child.
  • Current laws and regulations in Texas already balance the convictions of religiously affiliated child welfare service providers with the needs and beliefs of children they serve. There is no history of problems this bill would remedy.

Texas has a tragic history of partnering with child welfare organizations that use religious doctrine to mask child abuse and proselytizing. The Roloff Homes, a faith-based home for troubled teens run by fundamentalist preacher Lester Roloff, had a string of abuse and physical neglect allegations that ultimately forced them to close their facilities in Texas.

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