CWLA submitted comments to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources, Health and Human Services Grants Regulation on the HHS notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would repeal anti-discrimination provisions as implemented during the Obama Administration before the due date of Thursday, December 19.
The letter states:
“We need a comprehensive national strategy to expand the availability of a continuum of foster family homes that are appropriate to each child. This becomes even more urgent in light of new limitations placed on residential or group care and the creation of the Quality Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) through the Family First Prevention Services Act.
Rather than framing this challenge as a fight over “religious freedom,” with children and families in the middle of the battlefield, we need a declaration of need. We propose that the Administration withdraw this NPRM and instead post a request for comments on strategies to increase the number of appropriate foster family placements and increased placements for the approximate 125,000 waiting to be adopted.”
On Thursday, December 19, the Senate Democratic caucus led by Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent HHS Secretary Alex Azar a letter explaining how the proposed rule would impact vulnerable populations.
For example for foster care, the Senators provided examples of potential consequences of HHH’s non-enforcement decision such as “a foster-based foster care agency receiving taxpayer dollars could refuse to house and care for LGBTQIA+ youth or turn away qualified, loving LGBTQIA+ parents willing to foster adopt, reducing the number of available foster homes.” The Senators asked HHS to reverse the non-enforcement decision and withdraw the proposed rule.