NHeLP Comments on HHS License to Discriminate Proposed Rule

Executive Summary

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  (HHS) granted South Carolina’s federally funded Title IV-E Foster Care Program a “waiver” from nondiscrimination requirements.  The leading foster care provider in the state, Miracle Hill Ministries, refused to place children with non-Protestant families. The agency turned down Jewish, Catholic, and LGBTQ applicants who sought to serve as foster parents or mentors, despite a shortage of foster families. In a proposed rulemaking, HHS is seeking to broaden the waiver by eliminating nondiscrimination requirements in HHS grant-making. In these comments, NHeLP strongly pushes back against the proposal, arguing that HHS is prioritizing the religious beliefs of certain adoption and foster care agencies over the needs of children and youth in foster care. The comments also show how rolling back nondiscrimination protections will impede access to health care and other services, thereby exacerbating health disparities for LGBTQ and other populations.

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