Raymond and Ezekial adopted their son Dylan through foster care. They live in Louisiana with their son Dylan and one foster child.
Michigan Adoption-Specific RFRA Bills Would Protect the Personal Biases of Providers at the Expense of Foster Youth
This blog post was originally published at Mom's Rising. You can read the original post here.
State legislators in Michigan have introduced a set of bills that put at risk some of the state’s most vulnerable residents: Michigan’s more than 3,300 youth living in care. These three bills, HB 4188, 4189, and 4190, are Indiana-style RFRAs, and would permit adoption and foster care service providers to refuse to place youth in care with qualified and loving parents because of the provider’s religious or moral beliefs. If this legislation is signed into law, Michigan law will permit the biases of individual providers and agencies to outweigh what should matter most: protecting the best interests of foster youth living in Michigan.
It should come as no surprise that turning away qualified and interested prospective parents does not serve the best interests of youth in care; it fact, these policies cause real and lasting harm to foster youth. Each year, 23,000 young adults age out of foster care across the nation without having found a family to call their own. Leaving care without finding permanency puts these youth at increased risk of a number of negative economic and social outcomes, including poverty, homelessness, early pregnancy, incarceration, unemployment, dropping out of school, and being trafficked. If these adoption-specific RFRA bills become law, they will only make it more difficult for Michigan foster youth to find their forever family. Michigan’s legislators should be focused on passing laws that break down the barriers preventing youth from being matched with loving parents, not creating new barriers for them to overcome.
Michael and Tyrone have two children and formed their family through foster care. They currently live in Kentucky.