MBCH clarifies foster parenting position
BRIDGETON – While their previous meeting ended with some discussion of whether or not they might have to approve homosexual foster families, the most recent meeting of the board of trustee of the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) seem to deal with the issue indirectly.
The prospect came up during the board’s last meeting earlier in the summer in President Bob Kenison’s remarks to the board regarding a new state policy that became an issue after the General Assembly passed a law in June repealing Missouri’s prohibition of sodomy. The bill was an attempt to clear “the state’s law books” after the law was ruled unconstitutional when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar law in the landmark Lawrence v. Texas case. That prompted a ruling in February by Jackson County Circuit Judge Sandra Midkiff who said, as a result of the Missouri law’s abolishment, the state could no longer prevent two lesbians from obtaining a foster care license. That led Attorney General Jay Nixon to conclude that the state no longer has any basis to deny homosexuals the opportunity to become foster parents and announced he would not appeal Midkiff’s ruling – over the objections of Gov. Matt Blunt and pro-family groups. It is possible the Missouri General Assembly may address the matter in 2007.
The MBCH works closely with the state and receives millions of dollars each year through tax credits distributed by the state. As a result, it must abide by state regulations.
The only mention of the foster care policy came in the form of “talking points,” distributed by Ron Robinson, chairman of the Children and Family Ministries board. Although the 10-paragraph document does not specifically mention homosexuality or the new state policy, Robinson made it clear in his remarks it was meant to address that issue. He asked that board members refer any questions from the press, including The Pathway, to Russ Martin, executive vice president and treasurer for the MBCH. The board asked no questions regarding the statement.
“We believe the best family for a child is a Christian man and woman living together in a covenant relationship (marriage) with a lifelong commitment to each other. We also recognize that single people can be effective in foster parenting.
“In order to be ‘salt and light,’ we will train any individual who comes to us for training as foster parents who meet the State’s licensing standards should we be asked to conduct an assessment on a family and find they do not meet our higher standard of what it takes to be a foster parent but do meet the State’s standards and would not put children at risk, we will indicate in the evaluation section of the assessment that the family meets the standards of the State of Missouri for licensing as a foster parent. We will not recommend or ‘sign off’ on any home that we believe would put children at risk.
“Our policy has not changed. This has been our practice and will continue to be our practice. We will maintain in our system of foster care only those families who meet our own higher standard.”
In other business: The budgets for the MBCH and its subsidiaries were unanimously approved. The MBCH is more than $1.3 million in the black through the end of the 3rd quarter and is on pace to reach $2.2 million by the end of the year.
Financial gifts from individuals and bequests contributed in a big way to the MBCH’s sound financial position, Kenison said. Income from bequests and wills is more that 50 percent greater than the budgeted income. In addition, the MBCH will receive $557,000 through the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Program this year, plus an additional $152,000 from the Missouri Missions Offering.