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A Call to Action – New Virginia Licensing Regulations Endanger Faith-Based Agencies

Your immediate help is needed to protect the rights of Christian adoption agencies in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Social Services recently announced revisions to the legal regulations that govern the licensing of adoption agencies in the state. While many of the proposed changes will improve the services offered to children and families, certain standards will harm America World's, and other wonderful agencies', important mission of ensuring that all children grow up in loving homes.

One regulation is particularly troubling because it would deny faith-based agencies the right to provide services in accordance with their religious and moral beliefs. This standard would deny an agency a license if that agency screened applicants based on religion, sexual orientation, or family status. This means that America World and other Christian agencies would be forced to accept all applicants regardless of whether or not they share our religious and moral convictions, or else be forced to forfeit our license to conduct adoption services.

America World is proud to be a part of the calling and tradition of Christians helping orphaned and vulnerable children throughout the world. Since our founding we have united over 3000 children with loving, Christian families.

This regulation, if allowed to become law, would violate the Constitutional rights of faith-based organizations and endanger our ability to continue in this vital ministry. What’s worse is that it will deny countless children in Virginia and around the world their fundamental right to a family. 

We implore you to please take a few minutes of your time to stand up for orphaned and vulnerable children.

There is an online town hall accepting comments from the public until April 1, 2011. To comment and express your concerns, simply click HERE.

You can also contact your elected representatives to urge them to protect the rights of faith-based organizations and the precious children we serve.

Click HERE to contact your Virginia Legislators.

Click HERE to contact Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Click HERE to contact Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli.

Here’s a sample letter to use or help you think about what to say:

I am writing to express my opposition to new regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Social Services that violate the rights of faith-based child welfare agencies, and will deny countless orphaned and vulnerable children the right to a permanent, loving family.

Proposed regulation 22 VAC 40-131-170(B) would require a Licensed Private Child Placing Agency to accept any individual who applies to become a foster or adoptive parent regardless of whether that individual shares the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. Agencies that do not comply with this regulation would be in danger of losing their license.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of citizens of faith working together to care for and protect children. In fact, a significant number of children who are adopted today are adopted with the help of faith-based organizations. These groups have been successful at protecting children and providing them with permanent, loving homes because of their tireless advocacy on behalf of children. The proposed regulation, however, would forever silence one of the strongest voices for children in the Commonwealth.

This regulation is a clear violation of the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion and is an attempt to elevate the rights of one group of citizens at the expense of another. What’s worse is that countless children in Virginia and around the world will be denied their fundamental right to a family if it is allowed to become law.

I urge you to do everything in your power to oppose this regulation and protect the right of faith-based organizations to continue to serve children.

I will be following this issue and your response closely.

Thank you in advance, to all of our families, for your prayers on this matter.  We serve a mighty God who can move mountains and change men's hearts!


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