September 10,2019

Wyden Statement on Elizabeth Darling Confirmation to HHS Administration on Children, Youth and Families

Wyden Voted ‘No’ on Nomination, Citing Concerns Over Trump Administration Efforts Supporting Taxpayer-funded Discrimination in Foster System

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued a statement on the Senate confirmation of Elizabeth Darling to serve as Commissioner for Children, Youth and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Wyden voted against the nomination, raising the alarm on serious concerns over Trump administration efforts supporting taxpayer-funded religious discrimination in the foster care system.

“At a time when there are too many vulnerable kids and too few safe foster homes in America, the Trump administration is allowing states to slam the door on qualified prospective foster parents because of their religious beliefs and sexual orientation. That’s not only unconstitutional, it’s bad for kids. And there are serious concerns the administration is looking to expand taxpayer-funded religious discrimination in the foster system beyond South Carolina,” Wyden said. “Elizabeth Darling will serve as a key official overseeing the foster care system, and she has given me no assurances that she will stand up to this administration’s efforts to put religion over the welfare of children. We need someone at HHS who will stand up for these kids and say no to state-sponsored discrimination.”

Wyden has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration’s decision earlier this year to grant the largest foster care organization and other faith-based agencies in South Carolina permission to turn prospective foster care parents away due to the religious beliefs of the child welfare providers. He led more than 40 Senate Democrats in calling on HHS to revoke the waiver granted to South Carolina. Wyden also raised the alarm over the issue on the Senate floor in July.