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Parental Rights

Happy Family


Parental Rights

Parents bring us into the world and care for us before we can care for ourselves. They have both the fundamental constitutional right and the moral duty to guide the upbringing, education, and health care of their children. Children belong to their families, not the government. While teachers, school counselors, and other school officials play important roles in children's lives, they are not equivalent to parents.

The law must acknowledge that parents generally know and love their children best. But all too often, courts have not treated parental rights as fundamental.

Parental rights are fundamental

We work to protect parents’ fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and health care of their children by advocating in court, promoting sound policy, and collaborating with allies.

The Government Can't Infringe on Parental Rights

Father and Mother Holding Infant

How do we defend your rights?

Together with like-minded partners, ADF advocates for parents’ rights in three key areas by engaging in strategic litigation, influencing law, and promoting policies that protect parents and children.

We defend the rights of parents to make informed decisions on behalf of their children and oppose efforts by government officials to hide information from parents.

We work to ensure that people of faith are allowed into the foster and adoption system so they can give children loving homes without being forced to compromise their beliefs.

We stand with teachers and parents, challenging public school policies that violate their rights and push false ideologies on students about human sexuality, race, and other controversial topics.

Parents with Kids

At ADF, we know that strong families are the backbone of a strong society. This understanding guides our work around parental rights.

We partnered with organizations including The Heritage Foundation to launch the Promise to America’s Parents to address divisive government policies that promote racial division and gender ideology.

We strategically engage in litigation to guarantee parents’ fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and health care of their children.

We advance legislation and provide expert legal testimony to state and federal legislatures working to protect parental rights.

Legal Cases

Mother and Daughter

T.F. and B.F. v. Kettle Moraine School District

A Wisconsin court ruled that a school district’s policy of using opposite-sex names and pronouns for students without informing their parents was unconstitutional.

Husband and Wife

Mead v. Rockford Public School District

Dan and Jennifer Mead sued the Rockford Public School District after district employees began treating the couple’s middle-school daughter as a boy without their knowledge or consent and hiding their actions from the parents.

Jessica Bates

Bates v. Pakseresht

Jessica Bates sought to adopt in her home state of Oregon, but when she applied for her certification, Oregon denied her application because the state requires families to affirm the government’s preferred views on sexuality and gender—views contrary to Jessica’s religious beliefs.

Supreme Court

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Learn More About Parental Rights

Happy Family

Parents, Not the Government, Have the Right to Raise Their Children

What are parental rights? Why are they important? And what is ADF doing to protect them? Learn more about the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on parental rights and the state of these fundamental rights across the country.

Father and Daughter Doing Homework Together

Congress Must Ensure Parental Rights Receive the Highest Level of Protection

The Families’ Rights and Responsibilities Act will ensure that parental rights receive the same level of federal protection as other fundamental rights. The legislation will protect every parent’s right to direct the upbringing, education, and health care of their children.

Chalk Drawing of Male and Female Gender Symbols

How Gender Theory Undermines Reality

What is gender theory? Read this breakdown of its history and how it’s affecting our society for the worse, including how it is infiltrating education and undermining parental rights.

Young Mother Holding Infant While On The Phone

Parental Notification Policies Keep Children Safe

Parents have the primary duty to make decisions about their children’s health and welfare. Notifying parents about these issues when they come up at school is not just common courtesy; it is a duty owed to parents by those to whom parents temporarily entrust their child for educational purposes.