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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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10/7/11  11:15 am
Commenter: Jami Gardner

Preserve Religious Freedom

22 VAC 40-131-170(B) as approved by the State Board of Social Services on April 20, 2011 recognizes the valuable services provided by faith-based child placing agencies and should be upheld. 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) as approved on April 20 also upholds current federal and state laws. Currently, 42 of the 60 licensed child-placing agencies in Virginia have some sort of religious affiliation. Any regulation that would limit the ability of these agencies to continue their life-saving work would have a lasting, negative impact on children. Current Virginia law permits adoption by married couples and single individuals. Many private child-placing agencies have deeply-held religious convictions regarding caring for orphaned and vulnerable children. These agencies have the right to make determinations according to these convictions. Many birthparents and prospective adoptive parents also hold sincere religious beliefs on the family and have the right to choose to work with agencies that share these values. If the Board of Social Services is truly serious about promoting the best interests of children, it will uphold the freedom of conscience of licensed child placing agencies. Since adopting families have a CHOICE in what agency they choose to work with, the thought of regulating them all to look the same is unconstitutional and a bit ridiculous. Adoption is something very personal and emotional and a family should have the right to choose an agency with the same beliefs as them to aid in the journey.

CommentID: 19666