By Yonat Shimron
(RNS) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued an exemption that allows all foster care agencies in South Carolina to disregard an Obama-era regulation barring religious discrimination in federally funded foster care programs.
The exemption will allow Miracle Hill Ministries, a Greenville-based Christian ministry, to continue to accept only Protestant, churchgoing parents to its federally funded foster care program, which recruits, supports and helps train parents to be licensed by the state to foster children.
“By granting this request to South Carolina, HHS is putting foster care capacity needs ahead of burdensome regulations that are in conflict with the law,” said Lynn Johnson, assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement issued Wednesday (Jan. 23).
A sprawling ministry that runs homeless shelters, thrift stores, drug-recovery programs and a foster care agency, Miracle Hill is the largest provider of care to the needy in the Upstate, the 10-county westernmost region of South Carolina, along the Interstate 85 corridor.
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