EPPC Scholar Meets with Federal Officials to Oppose Radical HHS Foster Care Rule Requiring “Affirmation” of Child’s “LGBTQI+ Identity”

Published April 2, 2024


On Tuesday, April 2, 2024, EPPC scholar Rachel N. Morrison met with government officials in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) to comment on the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) foster care rule, which is expected to be finalized soon. 

The rule would establish specific steps state and tribal agencies must follow for LGBTQI+-identifying children to fulfill their statutory obligation to provide “safe and proper care” to children in foster care.

As Morrison explained,

I agree that consistent with statutory requirements, all children in foster care should receive “safe and proper” care, including children who identify as “LGBTQI+.” This rule, however, is radical. It is premised on two incorrect and harmful assumptions: (1) not “affirming” a child’s self-proclaimed LGBTQI+ identity is unsafe and abusive; and (2) foster care providers who hold traditional beliefs (religious or otherwise) about marriage, sexuality, and gender are unable to provide LGBTQI+-identifying children with safe and loving homes. These premises are not only false but are harmful to children in foster care and will undermine religious freedom and parental rights far beyond the foster care context.

Morrison also pointed out how the rule is arbitrary and capricious because ACF misrepresented research and data, failed to define key terms and requirements, overstated the rule’s benefits, and undercounted its costs.

 A written version of her comments, submitted to EOP’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is available here (PDF). 

Rachel N. Morrison is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where she directs EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project. An attorney, her legal and policy work focuses on religious liberty, health care rights of conscience, the right to life, nondiscrimination, and civil rights.

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