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5/22/2024 United States (International Christian Concern) – A Christian couple is suing the state of Washington for denying their foster care license due to requirements that conflict with their religious beliefs.

Shane and Jennifer Degross are a devoted Christian couple who served as foster parents for Washington’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) from 2013 to 2022. During their service, the Degrosses provided care for four children, meeting a critical need amid Washington’s shortage of placement families. The couple loved each of these children as their own, providing exceptional care and love regardless of their background.

In 2022, while reapplying for their foster care license, the Degrosses learned of new regulations from DCYF requiring foster parents to use a foster child’s preferred pronouns based on their perceived gender ideology – not on the child’s actual sex. The new regulations also required foster families to take children to “cultural events” such as pride parades or drag events.

In October 2022, DCYF did not renew the Degrosses’ foster care license for reasons relating to the couple’s Christian beliefs, which teach that each person is created in the image of God, either male or female, and that sex cannot be changed. Despite multiple attempts for appeal by the couple’s foster-care licensing agency, Olive Crest, DCYF continues to put its agenda of promoting gender ideology before the well-being of foster children who just need a safe and loving home.

Shane Degross told Fox News, “Every child deserves a loving home and when the state puts ideology up on children and when Christian families who exercise their faith are discriminated against – it only harms children, and it decreases the number of foster families that can help provide a needed service.”

The couple is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian legal advocacy nonprofit that points out that this case is in clear violation of the First Amendment. Christiana Kiefer, senior counsel with ADF said, she is eager to hold state authorities accountable and to ensure that vulnerable children aren’t left sleeping in hotel rooms or unlicensed facilities but are instead placed in safe and loving homes like the Degross family.

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