Christian Families In Vermont Sue Over Foster Care Ban

Two Christian families in Vermont have filed a lawsuit against the Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF) after being barred from fostering children due to their religious beliefs. The Wuoti and Gantt families are challenging the state’s decision, which they claim is based on their refusal to adhere to specific gender identity policies. According to an exclusive report by The Daily Signal, Vermont is currently facing a shortage of foster families, with over 1,060 children in state custody and only about 900 licensed foster homes.

The Wuoti family, who have been fostering since 2014 and adopted two children, were praised by case workers for their exceptional care. However, when renewing their license in 2022, they were denied because they stated they could not support actions that conflicted with their faith-based views on human sexuality.

Similarly, the Gantt family, who began fostering in 2016 and have four biological children, were also denied. They had been asked to take in a newborn from a homeless woman but were later informed they would have to sign a form agreeing to uphold the state’s views on gender ideology. The Gantts refused, citing their commitment to biblical principles regarding gender and sexuality.

The lawsuit claims that both families were willing to love and care for any child placed with them but would not engage in activities that contradicted their religious beliefs. “We were offered to be reeducated and given the choice to either revoke our foster license or take educational materials and change our faith within a year,” Mr. Gantt stated, as reported by The Daily Signal. “I said, ‘No, we are not going to change our faith.’”

This case highlights ongoing tensions between religious freedom and state policies on gender identity. A similar situation occurred in Massachusetts with a Catholic family, the Burkes, who were also denied foster care licensing for similar reasons.

In response to these issues, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued new guidelines in September 2023 for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), stating that “LGBTQ” foster kids should be placed in homes that will affirm their identities. Critics argue that this focus on ideological conformity is overshadowing the primary goal of providing stable homes for children in need.

The actions of Vermont’s DCF, along with similar cases in other states, suggest a growing trend where adherence to specific ideologies takes precedence over the willingness and ability of families to provide loving homes for foster children.