Wyden Blocks Senate Vote On Darling Nomination  

February 7, 2019       Paul Clolery      

The nomination of OneStar Foundation CEO Elizabeth Darling to a commissioner role in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is being blocked in the U.S. Senate as a protest to new federal rules on foster care being implemented in South Carolina.

 

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he would use his senatorial prerogative to block her nomination, even through it was voted out of committee on Tuesday. It was not a rejection of Darling but to the policy, which she would oversee as commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) at HHS.

 

Darling declined to comment.

 

This is the second time her nomination, made in March 2018, was put in limbo. The nomination must be voted on by the full Senate. While the nomination came out of committee, it did not get to the floor of the Senate. She was re-nominated last month.

 

The heart of the debate is the change in federal rules regarding foster care now being implemented in South Carolina. It allows agencies to place children only with Christian families. Those agencies receive federal funds.

 

The administration granted a waiver of federal rules to Miracle Hill Ministries, a Greenville, S.C., agency. The federal rules cited as discrimination denies a placement based on religion, sexual orientation of the potential foster parents. The situation reportedly came about when the organization denied the application of a Jewish woman who wanted to foster a child from Miracle Hill, a Christian organization.

 

Wyden called the waiver and change in policy “the most wrongheaded, un-American policies the Trump administration has cooked up in the last two years.”

 

In a statement as the senate committee came to order, Wyden said: “What this means is, adults who can provide safe, loving and nurturing homes for foster kids will be denied that opportunity on religious grounds. People who are Jewish, who are Catholic, who are Muslim, who choose to practice no religion, LGBTQ Americans, potentially others. Under this Trump administration policy, they could legally become the victims of discrimination.”

 

Darling was appointed president and chief executive officer of the Austin, Texas-based OneStar in 2009. She was also chief operating officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. She was the founding director of the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2001 Darling was selection by The NonProfit Times as one of the charitable sector’s Power & Influence Top 50 in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

 

Darling was appointed president and chief executive officer of the Austin, Texas-based OneStar in 2009. She was also chief operating officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. She was the founding director of the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2001 Darling was selection by The NonProfit Times as one of the charitable sector’s Power & Influence Top 50 in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

  • Elizabeth Darling
  • OneStar Foundation
  • Ron Wyden
  • Senate Finance Committee
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services