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The Washington Post: Maryland board delays foster care contract with Alabama firm

June 5, 2019

Ovetta Wiggins

The Maryland Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to delay awarding $625,000 to a Alabama-based company after Comptroller Peter Franchot called for a boycott of the state over its new strict abortion law.

Franchot and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, both Democrats, asked administration officials to explore an alternative for the 20 children in foster care placement with Maryland families through Seraaj Family Homes, a company headquartered in Montgomery, Ala.

Last month, Franchot urged Maryland to divest any state taxpayer dollars from being spent in Alabama after lawmakers there passed a bill that bans most abortions, even in the case of rape and incest.

“Alabama’s values are drastically different than the values of people in Maryland. Therefore, I don’t think Maryland tax dollars should be subsidizing, directly or indirectly, Alabama’s assault on women,” Franchot said Wednesday.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) asked if the delay would harm the children or affect their placement. Gregory S. James, a deputy secretary for the state Department of Human Services, said the delay would not cause any immediate harm, but he raised concerns about moving children from their foster homes.

Franchot asked James to provide an alternative that would allow the children to stay in the homes “but move them out of the Alabama company rolls.”

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