January 23,2019

Press Contact:

Nicole L'Esperance (202) 224-4515

Wyden Statement on Trump Administration Decision to Allow South Carolina Foster Care Providers to Discriminate

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued a statement after Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its decision to grant South Carolina a religious exemption from federal nondiscrimination laws and regulations for Miracle Hill and other federally-funded foster care providers in the state:

“The decision by HHS to allow for taxpayer-funded discrimination is an affront to American values, jeopardizing the safety and protection of vulnerable children in South Carolina, and potentially across the country. It’s appalling that the Trump administration continues to throw the interests of children out the window. There are foster kids sleeping in hotels and living in temporary shelters. To turn away qualified parents because of their religion, sexual orientation or gender identity and deny these kids a secure home is immoral.”

Wyden in October urged HHS to reject the waiver request for Miracle Hill, which refused to allow a Jewish woman to mentor children in foster care through their agency because of her religious faith. Miracle Hill has also denied and referred qualified foster applicants to other child welfare agencies because applicants were same-sex couples. In order to receive federal funding, an organization must comply with the Constitution and federal law.