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Michigan Catholic Conference welcomes proposed federal rule change to protect faith-based child placement agencies

On Friday, Nov. 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule change that will ensure faith-based adoption and foster care agencies are neither discriminated against nor excluded from federal funding due to their religious mission. The proposed rule change reconsiders a 2016 rule that penalized faith-based entities for adhering to their religious teaching and placing children with a married mother and father.

David Maluchnik, vice president for communications for the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC), responded to the proposed change: “The proposed federal rule change, while unfortunately not preventing states and local governments from continuing to discriminate against faith-based agencies, will help to ensure diversity in child placement by preventing discrimination from the federal government. At the expense of vulnerable children and their well-being, too many Catholic child placement agencies nation-wide have been forced to close due to discrimination or animus. We therefore view this as a good first step in protecting faith-based agencies across the country.

“While some public officials in Michigan are seeking to shutter faith-based agencies in this state, we welcome the proposed federal rule change that will help to preserve the mission, identity and long-standing community presence of Catholic adoption and foster care agencies in the United States.

“In the not-too-distant past the state of Michigan had relied heavily on partnering with religious communities to place children in forever homes; it is time for the state to return to its well-intentioned past, move on from its current discriminatory efforts, and set the cultural battles aside so that faith-based agencies can continue the important work of placing children.”

The MCC is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan. For more information, contact Dave Maluchnik at