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February 2003Vol. 4, No. 1New Regulations Proposed for Funding Faith-Based Organizations

HHS has proposed new regulations to clarify the rights and requirements for religious organizations that use HHS funds in delivering human services. The proposed regulations, announced in December, build on earlier HHS efforts to help smaller faith- and community-based organizations access federal funds.

Some of the regulations specify:

  • Faith-based organizations cannot be excluded from competition for federal funds simply because they are religious.
  • Religious organizations that receive federal funds must serve all eligible participants, regardless of those persons' religious beliefs.
  • Religious organizations that receive federal funds may continue to carry out their missions, including maintaining a religious environment and taking religion into account when making employment decisions.
  • Religious organizations may not use direct program funds to support any inherently religious activities. These activities must be offered separately from the HHS-funded programs or services.

The new regulations affect several HHS programs, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and the Community Services Block Grant. HHS is accepting comments on the proposed regulations through February 18, 2003. To read and submit comments regarding the TANF proposed regulations, visit the ACF website at (Editor's note: this link is no longer available). The proposed regulations for the Community Services Block Grant are available for review and comment on the ACF website at (Editor's note: this link is no longer available).

Related Item

Read "HHS Awards $30 Million from the Compassion Capital Fund" from the November 2002 issue of the Children's Bureau Express.