Illinois Forcing Foster Parents to Support Gender Transition or Lose Kids

Emily and Matt Knudsen sit in their living room in their home in Fremont, California, May 14, 2015.
Emily and Matt Knudsen sit in their living room in their home in Fremont, California, May 14, 2015. | (PHOTO: REUTERS/BECK DIEFENBACH)

The state of Illinois' social services policies now bar social workers from employment and foster families from caring for children if they refuse to facilitate a child's gender transition.

Earlier this month, the state's director of the Department of Children and Family Services approved "enhanced department procedures" that established "mandatory minimum standards for LGBTQ children under its authority," The Federalist reported on Tuesday. 

These state standards, reportedly drafted with the assistance of the ACLU, "will not tolerate exposing LGBTQ children and youth to staff/providers who are not supportive of children and youths' right to self-determination of sexual/gender identity." 

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Mary Rice Hasson, director of the Catholic Women's Forum at The Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., explained that the government agency has effectively rendered biology dead by fiat. 

"No matter that sexual difference is a scientific fact, or that billions of sane people across the world acknowledge it," Hasson said, noting that vulnerable children in the care of the state will not be entrusted to people who believe human beings cannot physically alter their sex.

Meg Kilgannon, executive director of the Fairfax, Virginia-based Concerned Parents and Educators, believes that this particular situation is an unfortunate scenario that many social conservatives have predicted as transgender activists keep the public conversation going about these issues on the topic of who gets to use what restroom. What it ultimately amounts to is an "erasure of the human person," she said.

"It's very easy to make fun of people who have concerns along the lines of 'Oh no, I might see something in the bathroom that I don't want to see,'" Kilgannon said of the current debate over transgenderism in an interview with The Christian Post on Wednesday.

"But when you really start to dig into this issue and you start to think about all of the ramifications that something like this means, you discover that gender identity compels speech" by coercing people to use various words and pronouns, she said.

"If a government entity is set to be the ultimate arbiter of someone's truth, being or existence, then at what point do parents get left out of the equation?" Kilgannon asked.

In Illinois, according to the new policies, parents are already being left out in significant ways.

"When a child is in state care, parents have no say in whether the child will receive puberty blockers or hormone treatments, as long as two physicians, or a physician and a counselor 'who is culturally competent in transgender healthcare,' sign off," Hasson added, citing the new procedural guidelines.

"If a child's 'permanency goal' is to return home to the care of his parents, then the state will notify the parents that hormone therapy is being initiated, but parental permission is not required."

Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, noted in The Public Discourse Tuesday that gender dysphoria was once viewed as an "ailment" linked with gender identity disorder. But activists have politicized the field of medicine making "what was once a pathology into an identity, a worldview, and a political virtue," he explained.

Christians should refuse to adopt the language of transgenderism when speaking about these issues since those who control the language have the power to frame the debate on ultimately false premises, he argues. Those new words assign meaning to new concepts and those concepts become unquestioned truths as society becomes more accustomed to their use over time.

"So the label 'transgender' not only denotes the positive affirmation of a mental illness, it communicates a metaphysical fiction seeking acceptance and adoption throughout all channels of the culture," Walker said.

The Illinois procedures also state that DCFS staff must "[p]rovide supportive and affirming care regardless of one's personal attitudes, beliefs, preconceptions and/or judgments, if any, surrounding matters of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression."

Should anyone have difficulty with this they will be referred to an "LGBTQ coordinator," who is granted significant authority governing the department's internal affairs.

Terms like "discipline" and "discharge" are used to describe what could happen to an employee or volunteer who in any way allows his or her "personal beliefs [to] impact the way individual needs of children/youth or families are met."

Kilgannon told CP she knows of several foster parent couples who are devout Christians that when applying to be foster parents were subjected to all kinds of bureaucratic "LGBTQ trainings" in an attempt to reeducate them about sexuality and gender identity that violated their core beliefs. But they kept their mouths shut, opting to tune it out lest they be denied the opportunity to foster a child.

"Does Illinois have so many foster parents that they can reject people on these grounds? Is there not a waiting list in Illinois like there is in every other state?" she asked.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, also in Washington, D.C., espoused similar concerns.

"It almost means that only if you are a liberal secularist can you be in service of foster kids," Sprigg said in an interview with CP on Wednesday.

"And, frankly, I don't think there are enough liberal secularists who are interested in serving as foster parents and maintain the system. I think it is ultimately going to hurt them by driving potential foster parents out, a negative consequence by anyone's standards."

The procedures Illinois has adopted here are "completely ideological," he said.

"[Activists] may claim it is scientific but the fact that engaging in homosexual and transgender sexual conduct, particularly as an adolescent, is associated with numerous negative mental and physical health consequences. It cannot possibly be a health-related requirement to have this," Sprigg asserted.

Follow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow Follow Brandon Showalter on Facebook: @BrandonMShow

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