Many religious daycares use their church affiliation as a means of exempting themselves from state rules. Alarmingly, such exemption problems occur in 17 states and impact over 7,700 different facilities nationwide.
The growing trend of using religion as a shield from regulation makes children susceptible to abuse in religious daycares. Thus, a daycares religious freedom comes at a price for children. The lack of common sense rules in religious daycares has proven disastrous as numerous children are abused and neglected in these facilities. Many cases are not reported because of religious exemptions, yet even when cases are reported it does not ensure justice. In fact, many cases are dismissed because of religious exemptions which allow many states to break rules.
These loopholes allow unthinkable tragedies to occur to children and leave families with few options to obtain justice. Faith-based daycares have virtually no rules which makes it hard for states to properly enforce, monitor, and oversee regulatory policies for religious daycares which further escalates the problem. When states allow exemptions, it decreases the safety of children in these care facilities. Many states have started fight against this systemic child abuse but 17 states leave children unprotected and vulnerable.
It is time to make state-wide regulation for all religious care facilities to fight the injustice children face and ensure that changes are made. South Carolina has created legislation, dubbed the Children’s Code, that is designed to give state officials jurisdiction to inspect religious daycares and prohibit all daycares from operating unless they are licensed and meets state regulation. This legislation preserves religious freedom in determining curriculum, but also requires enough training, regulation, and inspection to protect children.
Congress needs to pass a law that holds care facilities responsible for the lives they were charged to care for. This is not an issue of faith, but rather about protecting children. The God Loophole has allowed daycares to neglect and hurt children for far too long and it is time for changes to be made.