Issue Toolkit:

Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act

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Our Position

Heritage Action supports the House’s Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 6470), which includes the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (H.R. 1881 & S. 811).

Background Information

In July, the House Committee on Appropriations approved the Fiscal Year 2019, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education funding bill by a vote of 30-22. This legislation includes the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (H.R. 1881 & S. 811) as an amendment introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.). The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act would prohibit the federal government, and state governments who receive certain federal funding, from discriminating against a child welfare service provider that places foster children in families according to their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.

According to Emilie Kao, Director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation,

"Politicians forced Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, California, and the District of Columbia, out of the child welfare systems because they place every kid with both a mom and a dad. In Illinois, this caused the displacement of more than 2,000 children. Now activist law firms on the left, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, are trying to overturn laws in Michigan and Texas that protect the freedom of these agencies to operate on their beliefs."


These activists have given faith-based agencies an ultimatum: either violate your religious beliefs or shut down completely.

With the opioid crisis displacing more and more children, faith-based adoption agencies are needed now more than ever. According to The Heritage Foundation, “the opioid crisis has impacted not just the adults who became addicted, but also the kids they can no longer care for.” On average, more than 116 Americans die each day from opioid abuse leaving 92,000 children homeless. If faith-based adoption agencies were forced to shut down, thousands of children would be denied the chance to grow up in families. Therefore, all child-welfare providers, including faith-based, should be able to continue to provide services for children.

Furthermore, allowing faith-based adoption agencies to follow their beliefs about marriage and family does not limit the ability of LGBT individuals to adopt from other agencies. In fact, same-sex couples are able to adopt children in all 50 states.

Conservatives should work together to urge their representatives to support the Inclusion Act by voting in favor of H.R. 6470. This legislation would put children’s needs first by protecting all child welfare providers, including private and faith-based adoption and foster care agencies, by prohibiting the federal government from discriminating against them for their beliefs or convictions.

Key Talking Points

  • Keep kids first. Allow all agencies, including those that are faith-based, to continue helping the most vulnerable members of society.

  • Faith-based organizations have been essential to the child welfare system for decades. It is imperative that we protect these institutions that have the experience, network, and resources necessary to serve and uplift the disadvantaged children in our communities.

  • Allow birth mothers to work with the agency of their choice. All birth mothers, from any religious background or no religious association at all, should be able to work with an agency that shares her values and can best meet her needs.

  • This law does not prohibit LGBT individuals or couples from adopting children. In all 50 states, there are many religious and non-religious adoption agencies that serve these communities. The Aderholt Amendment provides protection from government discrimination for ALL adoption agencies.

Call Notes

These are notes to use when calling your member of Congress. Always remember to make these notes your own and include a personal story if you have one relating to the topic. You can find their phone number on the Heritage Action Scorecard.


Hi, my name is [NAME] from [CITY].

I’m calling today to ask [MEMBER OF CONGRESS] to support the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (H.R. 1881 & S. 811) contained in the House’s Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2019 (H.R. 6470).

The Inclusion Act (H.R. 1881 & S. 811) would protect faith-based child welfare service providers like adoption and foster care agencies from being shuttered for refusing to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.

This bill is:

  • pro-life by placing thousands of children in loving homes, serving as an alternative to abortion.
  • pro-family by allowing birth mothers and families to work with agencies that meet their specific needs.
  • bipartisan and protects all kinds of adoption agencies, religious and secular.

Closing adoption and foster care agencies only hurts children.

Please tell [MEMBER OF CONGRESS] to keep kids first by passing the House Fiscal Year 2019, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education funding bill.

Thank you for passing my message along.

Take Action

Social Posts (remember to insert the social handle of your member)

Excluding faith-based providers from being able to provide child-welfare services harms kids by cutting off agencies that can help them. #KeepKidsFirst #AderholtAmendment

437,000 kids are in foster care, 100,000 are eligible for adoption, and 90 percent of new families looking to adopt are recruited by faith-based organizations. DON'T shutter adoption agencies. #KeepKidsFirst #AderholtAmendment

.@MEMBER #KeepKidsFirst and ensure that faith-based child-welfare organizations, that serve children in foster care or in need of adoption, are not discriminated against by supporting the #AderholtAmendment

The #AderholtAmendment prioritizes children over political agendas. By standing with faith-based organizations, members of Congress can #KeepKidsFirst and help place orphans and children in foster care with loving families.

Faith-based agencies are at the heart of child welfare services. @MEMBER organizations who place orphans with loving families must be protected. The pro-life, pro-family #AderholtAmendement will #KeepKidsFirst and ensure children get the services that they need.

It’s time for Congress to prioritize kids over political agendas. The #AderholtAmendment protects the work of faith-based agencies to place children with loving families and serves to #KeepKidsFirst

Sample Letter to the Editor

Below is a sample letter to the editor. We encourage you to adapt and personalize the letter below. Heritage Action Regional Coordinators are always here to help edit your letter and get it published.

[MEMBER OF CONGRESS],

Faith-based organizations are essential to providing resources to children who deserve loving homes and families. More than 437,000 kids are in foster care, 100,000 are eligible for adoption, and 90 percent of new families looking to adopt are recruited by faith-based organizations.

The House’s Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2019 (H.R. 6470) includes the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (H.R. 1881 & S. 811) as an amendment. H.R. 1881 would prohibit both federal and state governments from discriminating against an agency based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

This bipartisan act protects both non-religious and faith-based adoption agencies and would put kids first by prioritizing the availability of adoption agencies above any political agenda.

We should not force child-welfare agencies to close at a time when the opioid crisis is putting more children in need of loving homes and increasing the strain on our foster care system. By supporting the House FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act you are supporting a bill that puts kids first and reassures that the thousands of kids who are waiting to be adopted remain the focus.

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