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Can The State Save Child Welfare Services?

State Senator Mark Kolterman of Seward sponsored the Child Welfare Services Preservation Act (LB975). The bill that would protect faith-based child placement agencies from losing funding or other adverse actions for declining to work with specific families based on the organizations' religious beliefs.

Nebraska law that prohibited LGBT residents from becoming foster or adoptive parents was a casualty of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down states' same-sex marriage bans.

At a legislative committee hearing held on February 17, opponents decried the bill. They alleged further discrimination by religious organizations against same-sex couples wanting to become adoptive or foster parents. Supporters claimed that the bill serves as much-need protection for these agencies to conduct business based on their strongly held beliefs.

Kolterman claimed that failure of the bill could result in Nebraska losing up to five agencies, affecting approximately 500 children annually.

"Nebraska can't afford to lose one safe and loving foster family and it can't afford to lose one child-placing agency."

Amy Miller, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska, countered with evidence of secular agencies in other states filling the gap.

"The free market will absorb these additional cases."

The hearing also featured testimony from adoptive and foster parents and children who were adopted and placed in foster care. As with any issue involving the welfare of kids, the debate sometimes became personal, it not contentious at times.

The adoption process can be legally complex and emotionally charged, requiring the help of an experienced and dedicated family law attorney.

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