The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Biden administration recently proposed a new rule that would require foster families to affirm the self-identified gender identity of any child in their care.
According to the Daily Caller, this proposal was published on Thursday with an aim to transfer children in the foster care system who are not addressed by their chosen name or identified pronouns into safe and appropriate placements. This is said to “protect” LGBTQI+ youth.
Foster families must not attempt to alter a child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, according to the rule.
Therefore, foster care systems are prohibited from placing LGBTQI+ identifying children with a provider who would unreasonably restrict or prohibit the child from expressing their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
“Safe and appropriate” foster families will be “trained” to “provide for the needs” of the “child’s self-identified sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression,” including providing “access to age-appropriate resources, services, and activities that support their health and well-being.”
“In certain cases, we anticipate that a report from a LGBTQI+ youth that they feel their placement is not safe or appropriate should merit a response of great urgency from the agency,” the proposed rule read.
Foster families may apply for a religious exemption. The agency will, however, evaluate whether imposing this requirement furthers a compelling interest and if there are any less restrictive alternatives available.
“Thus, even if the rule substantially burdens a religious practice, an exemption would not be required if the burden is necessary to the advancement of a compelling government interest through the least restrictive means possible,” the rule adds.
In accordance with an Executive Order signed by President Biden last year, the proposed rules were created to protect LGBTQI+ youth by ensuring access to medically necessary care that is free from State and local laws and practices which may be deemed harmful.
In a Wednesday statement, the Biden administration said the new proposed rules would “require that every state’s child welfare agency ensure that LGBTQI+ children in their care are placed in foster homes where they will be protected from mistreatment related to their sexual orientation or gender identity, where their caregivers have received special training on how to meet their needs, and where they can access the services they need to thrive.”
The public has been invited to provide comments on the proposed rule for the next 60 days.