Home Christian News New York Pays $250K After Trying To Shut Down Christian Adoption Agency

New York Pays $250K After Trying To Shut Down Christian Adoption Agency

New Hope Family Services
Photo by Sora Shimazaki (via Pexels)

For more than four years, New Hope Family Services, a faith-based adoption agency, has been battling the state of New York. The New York Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) attempted to shut down the agency due to its strict policy to place children in homes with a “married mother and father.”

A Victory Settlement of $250,000 for Christian Adoption Agency and a Permanent Ruling To Stay Open

After reaching a settlement, New York has agreed to pay $250,000 in legal fees. New Hope Family Services can also continue providing adoption services for the community with protection against further suits based on the organization’s religious beliefs.

OCFS had previously questioned the nonprofit agency’s policies on suitable adoptive families. As the agency’s website states, “Adoptive parents are carefully screened: All our adoptive families here at New Hope go through an intense interview, training, and background screening process prior to becoming approved. If you choose adoption, you can rest assured that your child will be in a safe, loving, and healthy environment.”

Based on religious beliefs, the screening process approves only heterosexual, married couples as adoptive families.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) provided legal counsel and representation throughout the case.

“The state’s attempt to close New Hope violated its core rights protected by the First Amendment and needlessly reduced the number of agencies willing to help vulnerable children,” argued ADF Senior Counsel Roger Brooks.

Brooks continued, “New Hope is a private religious ministry that doesn’t take a dime from the government. Further, New Hope’s faith-guided services don’t coerce anyone and do nothing to interfere with other adoption providers who have different beliefs about family and the best interests of children. On behalf of the children waiting to be adopted and the prospective parents partnering with New Hope to provide loving and stable homes, we’re pleased to favorably settle this case and ensure the organization can continue its vital service to the Syracuse community.”

New Hope Family Services Executive Director Kathy Jerman kept children and families at the forefront of her mind as she commented on the legal victory.

Every child deserves a home with a loving mother and father who are committed to each other,” said Jerman.

In 2022, the legal battle continued. “The state of New York is insisting that a private adoption provider who takes no money from the state, does not contract with the state, make child adoptive placements that violate its religious beliefs about marriage and the family,” ADF attorney Jeremiah Galus said of New York Family Services v. Poole.

Galus helped represent similar faith-based organizations. He had no doubt that “the rights of that private adoption provider will be protected.”

“And really, that’s a good result, not just for our first freedom – the free exercise of religion – but it’s a good result for children and families who are in the system,” Galus continued.