Hyde-Smith opposes proposed HHS rule which would require child trans affirmation
Published 7:00 am Friday, January 12, 2024
U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), of Brookhaven, called Thursday for the withdrawal of a pending federal rule that will force foster care agencies and families to affirm transgenderism in children or exit the care system.
Hyde-Smith is among six senators to sign a detailed letter asking Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to immediately rescind an Administration for Children and Families proposed rule titled Safe and Appropriate Foster Care Placement Requirements for Titles IV-E and IV-B.
Foster care providers who choose to only call a child by his or her given name and biologically correct pronouns, or who do not allow a child to dress as the opposite sex, will no longer be eligible to offer their foster care services to children, according to the proposed ACF rule.
“The premise of this proposal is that any foster care provider who does not ‘affirm’ a child’s sexual orientation or gender that differs from his or her biological sex is perpetuating and committing child abuse and will be shunned for failing to support the foster child’s ‘health and wellbeing,’” the Senators wrote. “All children in foster care, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve a safe and proper placement. However, this proposal goes beyond statutory requirements to force states to adopt extreme gender ideology in their placement decisions.”
Sen. Roger Marshall M.D. (R-Kan.) led the letter, which was also signed by senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Barrasso, M.D. (R-Wyo.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
The senators assert that HHS provided no evidence that states’ foster programs are harming children or that the rulemaking is necessary.
The senators also argue HHS failed to consider or quantify the impact the rule will have on the availability of foster care in states that partner with faith-based agencies, particularly in rural areas. Their letter points to the precipitous decline in available foster homes in states like Massachusetts and Illinois after ending partnerships with faith-based providers.
“As the proposal recognized, faith-based child welfare providers are a critical component of the child welfare system. This proposed rule, however, would alienate, if not exclude, a significant number of families motivated by their faith to welcome and serve foster children and their families,” the senators wrote. “The Department’s proposal would put religious families and religious providers in the position of declaring themselves unfit placements for a subset of the foster care pool, in spite of their long track records of excellence in serving and loving all children who need help.”
In November, Hyde-Smith cosponsored the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act to prohibit the federal government and states from discriminating against faith-based child welfare service providers, including adoption and foster care providers.
As a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Hyde-Smith has continuously extolled the work of faith-based adoption and foster care providers in Mississippi as part of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Angels in Adoption program.
Read the Senators’ signed letter to Becerra here.