Alliance Defending Freedom Secures $250,000 Settlement for Christian Adoption Agency
New Hope Family Services and their attorneys, Alliance Defending Freedom, are celebrating a long-awaited victory for themselves and other faith-based adoption centers and ministries.
For over four years, the New York Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) had threatened to shut down the Christian adoption agency, New Hope Family Services, due to its policy of placing children with a married mother and father, which is rooted in its religious beliefs.
New Hope Family Services has served orphans and abandoned children by placing them in loving homes for over half a century, guided by Christian principles. The adoption ministry is funded solely by private donations. New Hope has an exceptional track record of successfully finding adoptive parents for children who are classified as “hard to place” due to various factors, such as disability, medical condition, and race. Over the past few decades, the majority of infants placed by New Hope have been categorized as “hard to place,” but the agency has always been able to find a loving and permanent adoptive family for every child entrusted to its care, including infants with severe medical conditions.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Roger Brooks explained how the state’s attempt to close New Hope was a violation of its core rights protected by the First Amendment and needlessly reduces the number of agencies willing to help vulnerable children. “New Hope is a private religious ministry that doesn’t take a dime from the government,” Brooks said. “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.”
The $250,000 settlement in New Hope Family Services v. Poole has secured the future of the agency and its vital work of placing children in loving and permanent homes. With this settlement, the Office of Children and Family Services can no longer target New Hope for its religious policies, allowing New Hope to continue its mission without fear of persecution or discrimination.
The settlement is predicated on a landmark decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in 2020 and a federal district court’s ruling in September 2022. These rulings permanently prohibited the state of New York from enforcing state law that would have forced New Hope to process adoption applications from same-sex couples or unmarried cohabitating couples or to place children for adoption with such couples. Additionally, the rulings ensured that New Hope could refer such couples to other agencies, preserving the agency’s ability to uphold its standards in the placement of children.
Brooks expressed his pleasure at the settlement. “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,” he said.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are still litigating another case, New Hope Family Services v. James, on behalf of New Hope Family Services, defending the Christian adoption agency against very similar charges from another New York agency — The New York Division of Human Rights.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, marriage and family, and the sanctity of life.
Learn more about Alliance Defending Freedom here: https://www.adfministryalliance.org/