Under terms of a lawsuit settlement March 20, child care agencies that contract with the state of Kentucky will be forbidden to discriminate against children based on religion or to pressure them to participate in religious worship or instruction. Publicly funded agencies and foster homes also will be barred from placing religious items in children’s rooms without their consent, and religious materials will be given only to children who request them.
The suit, filed in 2000, alleged proselytizing at Sunrise Children’s Services, a contractor affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Taxpayers challenging the state were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Kentucky and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Since 2000, the Baptist-affiliated ministry has received more than $100 million in government funds. In fiscal 2011, the state paid $14.8 million of the ministry’s expenses of $24.7 million.