Celebrating the introduction of the “Every Child Deserves a Family” Act in the House of Representatives, Katy Joseph, Interfaith Alliance policy and legislative advisor, called on members of Congress to promote the best interests of all children in the foster care and adoption system by supporting this critical piece of legislation:

“The Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF Act) introduced today by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and Congresswoman Jenniffer González Colón (NPP-PR) is an important step toward ensuring that no child faces discrimination during their time in foster care and that qualified prospective parents are not turned away simply because of who they are, what they believe or who they love.

“When foster or adoption agencies receive federal funding, they agree to abide by federal non-discrimination laws. But an increasing number of faith-based agencies are citing religious freedom as an exemption from these laws and rejecting applicants that do not live, love or worship as they do. And government officials are granting the requested exemptions.

“The misinterpretation of religious freedom hurts foster youth by unnecessarily restricting the pool of placements and forcing them to remain in care for longer than necessary. The ECDF Act will prohibit discrimination by any federally funded child welfare agency on the basis of religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status.

“Religious freedom and non-discrimination protections are complementary values, rooted in the fundamental principle that every person should be treated equally under the law. We urge Congress to move quickly to ensure that every child finds a home, and that every family able to provide a safe, supportive and loving home has the opportunity to make their family whole.”

Interfaith Alliance stands with more than 500 child welfare, faith, civil rights and LGBTQ organizations as a part of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign, which seeks to end discrimination in foster care, adoption, and child welfare, and to promote affirming care for all foster youth.

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.