Guest Post by Rhonda Sciortino
On June 24, 2020, President Trump Signed The Executive Order Strengthening The Child Welfare System For America's Children. I worked with many Christian child welfare professionals for months in 2019 on recommendations for a Presidential Executive Order on foster care that would support the good work of faith-based child caring organizations. I strongly support these organizations for two reasons. First, my foster parents introduced me to Jesus, who is the single most powerful contributing factor to the good life I have now. Second, my 25 years of analyzing the ways that children are injured or killed in foster care suggests that foster children cared for in Christ-centered programs enjoy better outcomes.
This is not to say that there aren't good people and organizations caring for children in secular settings, there are. The PEO language that we suggested would simply treat faith based child welfare organizations consistent with their First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court ruled recently that schools cannot be forced to abandon their religious character in order to receiving government funding, so it seems reasonable that the same consideration should be given to faith based child caring organizations. The final PEO begins by emphasizing family preservation. Where that isn’t possible, the secondary goal is to facilitate permanent families for children in foster care to reduce the number of young people who age out of the foster care system, like I did, without a supportive family. The great things about this PEO include:
Emphasizing family preservation. Where that isn’t possible, the secondary goal is to facilitate permanent families for children in foster care to reduce the number of young people who age out of the foster care system, like I did, without a supportive family.
Encouraging partnerships between government and private, faith-based and community organizations;
Increasing access to resources for foster and adoptive parents;
Improving federal oversight of state compliance.
This PEO opens the door to initiatives like the Love Is Action Community Initiative, which is a public/private collaboration with faith-based organizations, the purpose of which is to give neighbors an opportunity to help vulnerable children and fragile families in their community for the purpose of avoiding the societal ills that harm us all. My wildest dream would be that people in communities throughout the US would take this opportunity to come together to help one another. If I may help you put your love into action in your community, please contact me. Love Is Action is all about relationships because we know that healthy relationships with good people enrich us all, and they are the key to the prevention of substance abuse, homelessness, human trafficking, and many other tragic outcomes. We can change lives when we put our love into action! Read the actual EO here. Rhonda Sciortino, author of 30 Days To Happiness (featured on Ellen DeGeneres' show and included in her Kind Box), used the coping skills from her chaotic childhood to create personal and professional success. Through her speaking, writing, media appearances, and Live, Love, Survive and Thrive YouTube show and podcast she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to a their