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Tuesday, February 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joseph Brooks
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NASW – Alabama Says “Bill Must Be Struck Down”!

The Alabama Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act (HB 24), introduced by Representative Rich Wingo [R] of Tuscaloosa, states “This bill would prohibit the state from discriminating against child placing agencies on the basis that the provider declines to provide a child placement that conflicts with the the religious beliefs of the provider. This bill would prohibit the state from refusing to license or renew the license of a child placing agency on the basis that the provider declines to carry out an activity that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the agency.”

The NASW-Alabama Chapter’s Executive Director, Dawn Ellis-Murray, stated “This bill could have serious, negative implications in regards to child placement resources and the equal treatment of LGBTQ individuals and their families.” It could also have serious implications for the estimated 5,000 children in the foster care system awaiting placement right now throughout the State of Alabama with regard to their adequate access to placement resources and the prospective reduction of federal funding appropriated to the state through Title IV funding on behalf of those children as aa subset of the entire population of youth that are aided by those funds..

NASW – Alabama is alarmed by the implications of this legislation, and is taking this opportunity to inform its membership, like minded partners, and the community at large that HB 24 is being referred to the Alabama House of Representatives Committee on Health today, Tuesday, February 7, 2017.  Additionally, this legislation is being “fast tracked” based upon its historical momentum from the 2016 legislative session as HB 158, whose exact verbiage has now been re-introduced as HB 24.  The committee hearing for HB 24 will take place on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 10:30 a.m., and passage could be imminent.  Please consider the implications and let your ethical responsibility to the profession and those we serve stimulate your ability to advocate on behalf of these voiceless youth and the communities in which they reside.

While NASW-Alabama Chapter respects the ability of individuals to be self-determined in their choices and decisions, diversity and inclusion are core foundational principles that should remain evident in our expressed freedom and rights.  In no instance should one’s personal limitations and religious expressions minimize and negatively impact the human dignity and worth of others; nor should it put at risk the best interest and safety that are the benefits of the protections of our child welfare placement resources. NASW-Alabama Chapter believes that bias and discrimination directed towards ANY group is detrimental, not only to those that we serve but to society as a whole.



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