South Carolina’s Republican governor has asked a federal court to protect the state’s right to partner with faith-based foster care groups to provide homes for children in need.
Gov. Henry McMaster sent a letter following a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the governor seeking to penalize the state’s work with religious foster agencies.
“Over 3,500 of South Carolina’s children are currently in foster care and we need all the help we can get to see that they are placed in loving homes,” McMaster stated in his letter.
“This lawsuit is a shortsighted attack against every South Carolinian’s constitutionally-protected religious liberty. We will continue to fight against any attempt to stop our private partners from being able to help provide these critical services simply because they choose to do so in accordance with their faith,”He concluded.
South Carolina’s Department of Social Services works directly with families seeking to foster and adopt children in crisis. McMaster made an executive decision in 2018 protecting the religious freedom foster agencies. Miracle Hill Ministries is one of these agencies. It partners with Christian families.
Becket Law, the legal group representing Miracle Hill’s 80-year tradition of recruiting and serving families, claims the ACLU used social media to recruit individuals who did not share Miracle Hill’s faith to apply to foster with the agency. South Carolina’s ACLU sued the federal government and claimed Miracle Hill was allowed to provide foster care.
“Faith-based agencies are effective at placing children in loving homes, and the Supreme Court unanimously protected their rights,” Lori Windham is vice president at Becket and Senior Counsel.. “This attempt to shutter faith-based agencies means fewer choices for foster parents and fewer homes for kids. South Carolina decided it could do better, and it shouldn’t be hauled into court for doing the right thing.”
Becket stated in a statement, that in recent weeks the Supreme Court had confirmed in Fulton v. Philadelphia to protect Catholic Social Services’ right to stick to its religious beliefs and continue serving foster children in Philadelphia. South Carolina allows private agencies to be licensed that provide assistance for children in desperate need. This is while protecting religious freedom and the rights of South Carolina residents.
Miles Coleman (a Nelson Mullins partner) also participated in Becket’s statement.
“South Carolina’s efforts to protect all avenues of foster care should be applauded, not forced into a courtroom,” Mullins said. “Too many places around the country have shuttered religious foster care agencies, making it harder to find children a home. South Carolina is doing all it can to prevent that.”
Since 2018, the controversy surrounding Miracle Hill has been at the center of legal dispute. Since 2018, the controversy surrounding Miracle Hill has been the focus of legal conflict. Four years ago, it was criticised for not working with LGBTQ volunteers but still being funded by state funds.
First filed by the ACLU in 2019, this lawsuit was Rogers v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services et al.
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