A Christian couple in this blue state was denied a foster care license for one shocking reason

The foster care system in America is struggling to meet demands.

There is no question that more foster parents are needed to handle the increasing number of foster children.

But in this blue state, a Christian couple was denied a foster care license for one shocking reason.

The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Washington state couple who wants to continue to serve as foster parents.

Christians need not apply

The lawsuit was filed against state officials who refused to renew the couple’s foster care license.

Their reason for refusing the renewal was because of the couple’s religiously held, scientific, and common-sense view that people can’t change their sex.

In August 2022, Shane and Jennifer DeGross worked with foster care licensing agency Olive Crest to renew their license to provide a home to vulnerable children. 

But the agency informed the couple that the Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families had enacted new regulations that require all foster parents to use a foster child’s inaccurate pronouns based on their “gender identity,” not their actual sex. 

The regulations also require that foster parents take children to so-called “cultural” events like gay pride parades. 

Because of their strong Christian faith, the DeGrosses told Olive Crest that while they would love and support any child placed in their home, they could not lie to a child about who they are or encourage a foster child to reject their biological sex. 

DCYF officials responded by denying their application, even after Olive Crest made more than one attempt to appeal the denial.

“Washington state officials are putting their own ideological agenda ahead of children who just need a loving home. Despite the DeGrosses’ faithful service as foster parents for nine years, the state disqualified them simply for having views that Washington does not like,” said ADF Legal Counsel Johannes Widmalm-Delphonse. 

“As a federal court has already affirmed in Blais v. Hunter, this exclusion is unconstitutional—religious beliefs about human sexuality are not a legitimate or constitutional reason to categorically bar citizens from helping children. Washington is putting families like the DeGrosses to an impossible choice: speak against your faith and lie or give up the opportunity to care for hurting children. That is illegal and wrong.”

A Biblical command

The DeGrosses, inspired by the biblical command to care for widows and orphans, have served as loving foster parents to several children for more than nine years. 

They sought to renew their license because they hoped to serve as respite-care providers, people who can act as a secure stop for children who do not have a stable home. 

Olive Crest appealed to the state of Washington and said of Shane and Jennifer that they “have a heart for serving children in [their] community” and their “faithful ministry to children in Washington has been a blessing.”

During the renewal process, Olive Crest informed the DeGrosses of Washington’s new gender-identity rules and how other families had been forced to make a decision to comply with the new rules or walk away from serving children in need. 

The DeGrosses said they would “love and support any child who is placed in [their] home,” but could not speak or promote views contrary to their faith. 

Olive Crest submitted their application to the State and sought an exemption from the regulations on pronouns, saying the DeGrosses are a “very loving and gracious couple who truly desire to support other foster families.” 

The State of Washington was unwilling to renew their license.

In the Blais case, a couple sued the Department for excluding foster parents who disagreed with the state’s ideology on gender. 

The Blaises were seeking to care for their great-granddaughter but were denied because they would not “support hormone therapy” for a hypothetical child suffering from gender dysphoria.

A Washington federal district court ruled that the Department cannot bar people from foster care merely because of their beliefs about human sexuality.

Due to a shortage of available foster care, children in Washington have had to sleep in hotels and even in the cars of case workers. 

ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, DeGross v. Hunter, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Tacoma Division.

Pro-Life Press will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.

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