US: Administration Lets Foster Agency Turn Away Catholics and Jews

Aimee Maddonna is the kind of foster parent that child welfare agencies dream of: a married mom of three children, two of them with special needs, and hoping to foster kids who also have special needs. No surprise that when she visited the largest child-welfare agency in her hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, she passed all of the screening tests with flying colors.

Until she told them she was Catholic. That’s when her application was summarily rejected.

That’s because the agency in question, the state-funded, evangelical-run Miracle Hill Ministries only places children with “born again” Christian parents. In 2018, South Carolina’s Republican governor, Henry McMaster, issued an executive order specifically allowing this discrimination and asked for a federal waiver to allow Miracle Hill to receive federal taxpayer dollars disbursed by the state and turn away not just LGBT people, unmarried people, and anyone else they deemed religiously unfit, but non-evangelical Christians and Jews too. (At least two Jewish couples have also been denied by Miracle Hill.)

In January 2019, the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services granted that waiver.

That’s right, in Donald Trump’s America, state- and federally funded adoption agencies and other child welfare agencies (CWAs) can openly violate anti-discrimination laws and openly flout the “best interests of the child” standard that governs American family law, and can legally refuse to place children with anyone they religiously disapprove of.

Unconstitutional? Maybe. Un-American? Definitely.

Being turned away “wasn’t something that had even crossed my mind,” Maddonna said on a recent press call sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union. “I never thought, as a Catholic, that this would be an issue.” Read more via Daily Beast