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Are Federal Agencies Implementing the President's New Faith-Based Rules? E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Six months after the President issued an executive order reforming some of the constitutional safeguards governing faith-based funding, has anything changed?  In the most recent issue of the magazine Conscience, Sarah Posner checked in on the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to see if and how the new rules were having an impact.

[T]he White House couldn't answer how that implementation will take place. Through a spokes person, DuBois said that each agency would have its own process, and that this process was independent from the OFBNP.

At the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as one example, the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) administers the Healthy Marriage Initiative, which includes grant recipients with explicitly faith-based -- and often sectarian Christian -- mission statements and approaches. . . .

When asked about how the ACF is complying, or will comply with the executive order, a representative from HHS replied by e-mail, "As part of the executive order issued by the president, a working group was established to ensure uniform implementation across the federal government. There are representatives from HHS participating in the working group that are evaluating existing agency regulations, guidance documents and policies that have implications for faith-based and other neighborhood organizations. The next step, following the executive order and the establishment of the working group, will be recommendations to the president and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by the working group. After the recommendations, OMB, in coordination with the Department of Justice, will issue guidance to federal agencies."

The question remains -- how long is this all going to take? Meanwhile, all these organizations are providing services without the regulations in place.

The November 2010 executive order required that "within 120 days...the Working Group shall submit a report to the President....The Working Group's report should include, but not be limited to, a model set of regulations and guidance documents for agencies to adopt..."

Presumably, that's been done? Is anything being done to monitor and implement these new regulations?

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