Case Challenging Faith-Based Exemptions for Child Placement Agency in South Carolina Moves Forward

A woman from Simpsonville, South Carolina is challenging a local policy that allows child placement agencies to deny applications based on religion. Aimee Maddonna claims that her application to volunteer and become a foster parent with the Miracle Hill agency was denied because she is a Catholic. Miracle Hill is a Protestant organization. They have denied her request to volunteer for the organization on several occasions. 

In March of 2018, the Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, signed an executive order stating that faith-based agencies can deny people’s applications based on religion, So, despite the fact that there are thousands of kids in the system in need of a good home, people are still being turned away because of their religion. Aimee Maddonna is one of these people who have been turned away.

Maddonna claims that the policy violates her 1st, 5th and 14th Amendment rights. This week, the government filed a motion to dismiss with the courts. The judge denied this motion and said that the case will move forward. He ruled that the plaintiff in this case still has Constitutional rights that may have been violated. 

The executive order that was signed in 2018 essentially gives faith-based child placement agencies the right to discriminate based on religion. Agencies like Miracle Hill have shown a history of placing children with families that share the same religion as the child. They also have refused to let people who aren’t Protestant from volunteering or serving as a foster parent.

A spokesperson for the child placement service indicated that Maddonna still hasn’t completed her application. Despite this fact, the lawsuit is moving forward.

If you’re looking to adopt a child in South Carolina but feel that you’re being discriminated against, call our office right away.