US Politics

Trump Administration Works to Reform Foster Care System

President Donald Trumps administration announced it will ignore an Obama administration regulation banning federal funding for religiously based child welfare providers, including foster care facilities.

Previously, these facilities couldnt operate with federal funding if they practiced supposed religious discrimination toward groups including homosexual foster parents.

This move is the latest step in the administrations push to improve the quality of care and reduce the number of children in the U.S. foster care system.

“Today, the administration is proposing a regulation to fulfill Trumps promise to allow faith-based social service providers who receive HHS grants to continue serving their communities without compromising their beliefs,” a senior administration official told The Washington Times on Nov. 1, referring to the rule change.

Recently, the faith-based Michigan provider Bethany Christian Services announced that it would amend its practices to comply with the Obama-era law banning the Christian organization from refusing to place children with homosexual foster parents.

On Nov. 5, in the aftermath of Trumps decision, a Christian provider called New Hope Family Services was allowed to remain open in New York State without being required to show compliance with the Obama-era law, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Trumps announcement means that Christian providers such as Bethany Christian Services no longer have to adopt practices that are contrary to their beliefs.

The Epoch Times has recently reported on how non-religious foster care providers have been accused of overseeing and covering up instances of sexual assault or child prostitution, raising scrutiny of child protective services (CPS) agencies that remove children from their original biological families homes.

The Trump administration is also highlighting its initiative to decrease the number of children in the foster care system.

“We must strive to keep families united, wherever possible, and my Administration is working to reduce the removal of at‑risk children from their homes and familiar surroundings,” Trump stated in his proclamation on National Foster Care Month in April 2019.

“Last year, I signed into law the Family First Prevention Services Act, which is working to bolster families and keep children safely in their homes, when possible.

“This legislation gives States access to funding for evidence‑based prevention and early intervention services such as mental health therapy, family counseling, substance use and addiction treatment, and parenting classes. By allowing States to address factors, such as the opioid crisis, Americas sons and daughters are more likely to experience improved outcomes and hope for a brighter future.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released numbers Oct. 24 showing that the foster care child population decreased from 441,000 to 437,300 at the end of fiscal year 2019. The number of foster care children entering the system stood at 263,000 in fiscal year 2019, down from 270,000 the previous year.

While this statistical progress appears to be minimal, Trumps Family First Prevention and Services Act—which he appended to a short-term budget bill in 2018—only went into effect on Oct. 1, 2019, peeling away financial incentives to take children out of their homes. Parental rights advocates have long cited the Clinton administrations Adoption and Safe Families Act as the force that created financial incentives to place kids in the foster care system to await adoptions, which statRead More – Source

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