Our Perspective:  How Recent Supreme Court Decisions Impact Evolve Family Services and Those We Serve


Recent decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States have left our organization with mixed emotions but ultimately strengthened our resolve and commitment to social justice.

EVOLVE acknowledges that we work within a society and systems of care that are rooted in white supremacy and racism, which frequently results in disparities for children and families of color. In alignment with our organization’s missions and values, we are committed to dismantling oppression, racism, and other forms of discrimination in all areas of our work to ensure that the children, families, and communities we serve receive excellent care and services that advance their quality of life.

In alignment with the standards of the Child Welfare League of America, EVOLVE cultivates the ability of our staff and our systems of care to respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, races, ethnic backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, and faiths in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the work of the individuals, families, tribes and communities that protects the dignity of each.

As we mentioned in our social media post on June 15, we are glad to spread the news that the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 vote to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act. This important decision upheld tribal sovereignty and the vital importance of keeping Indigenous children within their families and communities. This decision supports our efforts specifically in kinship foster care and adoption.

Only two weeks later the Supreme Court severely limited the use of Affirmative Action in college admissions. By a vote of 6-3, the justices ruled that the admissions programs used by the University of North Carolina and Harvard College violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause, which bars racial discrimination by government entities.

This decision came almost 20 years to the datewhen it was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court that admissions programs could consider race as one of many factors when considering student admissions. This original decision came with an arbitrary timeline of 25 years for when the impact would be felt, making the decision to apply the new ruling to the admissions process for the class of 2028 consistent with the 25-year sunset.

In addition to the 25-year timeline, the 2003 majority decision stated that “student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions,” but warned that race-conscious admissions policies should not last forever, stating that “the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest” of diversity.

Unfortunately, the specific criteria for when racial preferences will no longer be necessary were not established as clearly as the 25-year time. EVOLVE believes that student body diversity should still be considered a state interest and race should still be used as a consideration in university admissions. As it pertains to our organization’s efforts, we will continue to help youth transitioning into adulthood who aspire to a college education and help them when appropriate to use their race as a reason for why they should be admitted through their essays and other criteria that are presented .

A day after the court ruled on use of affirmative action in college admissions, they ruled 6-3 in favor of Denver-area web designer Lorie Smith, who cited her Christian beliefs against gay marriage in challenging a Colorado anti-discrimination law. The justices overturned a lower court’s ruling that rejected Smith’s bid for an exemption from a Colorado law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and other factors.

As an organization, EVOLVE took offense to this ruling as it singles out a group (the LGBTQ+ community) for legal discrimination, a group that our organization not only supports but advocates for. We will continue to support and advocate for children and families that are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

For more information, please see our blog on LGBTQ youth in Foster Care.

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