Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) of the Finance Committee sent a letter to the Acting HHS Secretary W. Cochran urging the Biden Administration to halt the implementation of a Trump-era HHS final rule that would allow taxpayer-funded discrimination. If this final rule goes into effect on February 11, 2021, Senator Wyden inserted that “it has the potential to reduce the number of available foster and adoptive homes and that children may be forced into homes that are hostile to their own beliefs and identities.”
In the letter, Senator Wyden requests that HHS follows the guidance that was included in the White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain memo that announced regulatory freezes of already published rules and regulations for 60 days, acclaiming that they would be reviewed by a department or agency head appointed by President Biden.
CWLA opposed the previous Administration’s actions to significantly change federal non-discrimination policy that would make it difficult for LGBTQIA and religious minorities communities to access essential child-serving programs and services funded by HHS. In our transition document, A Stronger Foundation for American Families, we urge Congress and the Administration to enact legislation that will clarify that discrimination on the basis of gender, sex, or sexual preference is not in the best interest of children or society.
The Biden Administration should ensure that the final rule does not go into effect, and
- Reinstate the protections that were repealed in November 2019 that prohibited discrimination within programs under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Reinstate the data collection requirements included in the AFCARS final rule of 2016 in regard to LGBTQ data elements.
- Suspend waivers issued by the Administration that allow for discrimination in recruitment and placement within the child welfare system.
- Encourage Congress to pass legislation, such as the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, that will prohibit discrimination in placement and recruitment decisions by amending Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act.