Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2019
This bill prohibits discrimination or adverse action against a child welfare provider that declines to provide services due to the provider's sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions. The prohibition applies to the federal government and any state, tribal, or local government that receives federal funding for child and family services or foster care and adoption assistance. However, government entities may still take adverse action against a provider that denies adoption or foster care placement based on the prospective parent or child's race, color, or national origin.
If a state, tribal, or local entity engages in such prohibited actions, the Department of Health and Human Services shall withhold 15% of the federal funds the entity would have received to provide child and family services or foster care and adoption. The bill also provides a private right of action for child welfare providers to sue the government entity for such discrimination, and a prevailing provider shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
A government entity that accepts federal funding for child and family services or foster care and adoption assistance shall have waived sovereign entity as a defense to such discrimination allegations.