Preserve Religious Freedom in Virginia
October 3, 2011

Families,

Once again, your help is needed to preserve the rights of Christian adoption agencies in Virginia.

As you may recall, in March of this year, America World led a coalition of faith-based child welfare agencies in blocking a regulation that would have denied faith-based agencies the right to provide services in accordance with their deeply-held religious beliefs. The original blog post from March 29, 2011 can be found HERE. Because of your support we were successful in protecting the rights of faith-based agencies in the Commonwealth and ensuring that we can continue in the ministry of adoption.

Unfortunately, opponents of religious freedom recently convinced the State Board of Social Services to re-open the public comment period on these regulations through political intimidation and the threat of legal action. America World and our partners have been working tirelessly to ensure that the decision made by the State Board of Social Services to protect faith-based agencies is upheld.

This week, America World is submitting formal comments in an online town hall addressing the regulations. Please take a few minutes of your time to make your voice heard on this important issue.

You can post your comments HERE

The comment period will close on October 11 at 11:59pm. When commenting please use the heading “Preserve Religious Freedom.” Please also encourage your friends, family, and members of your local churches to comment.

Below are some talking points to help you craft your response:

  • 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.
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