Skip to main content
Parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children

Parental Rights

Defending Parents' Rights

Parents take care of us before we can take care of ourselves.

They bring us into the world. They teach us to walk, to talk, to love. They prepare us to enter society and live as upstanding citizens.

Of all the people who share in shaping a child’s moral character and the adults they become—from teachers and coaches to spiritual mentors, extended family, and others—parents have far and away the deepest and most enduring influence. The men and women we become often reflect the men and women our parents are.

Everyone should care about how children are raised. They become our nation’s leaders, after all.

Everyone should also be able to agree that, in nearly every case, parents are best positioned to protect their children’s health and welfare.

Parents have a fundamental human right to direct the upbringing of their children

Although the law recognizes the rights of parents, parental rights are under increasing attack from public school indoctrination and state governments.

Sometimes, tragically, parents fail at providing their children’s most basic needs. When that happens, the government plays an important role. But the government should never replace parents.

Alliance Defending Freedom is working to achieve a Generational Win for parental rights. We litigate precedent-setting cases to protect parents and help to shape and defend public policy that enshrines parents’ rights as fundamental.

Did you know?

39
states
Have no statutes that expressly define and protect parental rights.
Source: ParentalRights.org
47
states
Do not grant parents review of learning materials and activities in advance of teaching.
Source: Goldwater Institute, Jan. 2020
1
state
Protects child health by banning puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone treatments.
Source: Focus on the Family
12
states
Do not allow parents to be involved in their schools' sex ed curriculum.
Source: Heritage Foundation, May 2019

Defending Your Parental 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

Public School Curricula

Many public schools are indoctrinating students in harmful views of human sexuality and race, injecting ideas from critical race and critical gender theories into classrooms. We help parents and teachers challenge this indoctrination of students.

Medical Decision-making

Some public schools encourage students to identify as the opposite sex at school and hide it from parents. And some government officials pressure parents to “transition” their children under threat of abuse charges. We defend parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children.

Adoption and Foster Parents

Some states refuse to allow prospective parents into the foster and adoption system based on their views about sexuality and gender. ADF works to ensure that people of faith can give kids loving homes without being forced to compromise their beliefs.

Parental Rights Cases

Alliance Defending Freedom and our allies are defending parents' rights in cases nationwide.
C.I. v. Albemarle County School Board
C.I. v. Albemarle County School Board

Parents and students sue their school board for enacting racially and religiously discriminatory policies and indoctrinating students in related radical ideology.

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

Wisconsin parents sue their school district for ”transitioning” children without parents’ knowledge or consent.

(Photo: Loudoun County High School history teacher Monica Gill [left], Leesburg Elementary School physical education teacher Tanner Cross [middle], and Smart’s Mill Middle School English teacher Kim Wright [right].  Credit: Alliance Defending Freedom)
Cross v. Loudoun County School Board

ADF challenges a policy that forces teachers to violate their beliefs about biological sex.

Pray for Freedom's Future
Join the Generational Wins Prayer Initiative and pray for freedom's future.
Join now
Request Legal Help
Contact us if your parental rights have been violated.
Request legal help
Start a Social Conversation
Share what ADF is doing about parental rights on Facebook.
Share on Facebook
Partner with ADF
You can make a life-changing difference. Every gift counts.
Give now
Parents walking with child while holding child's hands.

Concerned parents are not "domestic terrorists"

ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner responds to the U.S. attorney general’s targeting of parents.

Read the Letter

Parental Rights Articles

Parental rights schoolchildren Department of Education
FOIA Request Suggests ED Secretary Solicited NSBA Letter Comparing Parents to Domestic Terrorists

ADF is committed to protecting the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, care, and education of their children.

Parental rights in the legislature and the courts
It’s Time to Take a Stand for Parental Rights at the Legislature

ADF’s Center for Legislative Advocacy is working in state legislatures across the country, advocating for legislation that ensures the government cannot infringe on fundamental parental rights.

An Albemarle County School Board policy instructs that students must be treated differently based on their race
One School Board Is Fighting Racism with … More Racism?

ADF is representing a religiously and ethnically diverse group of parents and students to challenge the racially discriminatory policies and practices of Albemarle County Public Schools.

ADF's Other Practice Areas

Religious Freedom

ADF defends your right to live out your faith freely.

View our strategy

Free Speech

We aim to ensure all people can speak freely through direct advocacy and alliances.

Learn how

Life

ADF promotes life from conception to natural death.

Learn more

Marriage & Family

ADF advocates for God's design for marriage and the family.

Get the details

Follow ADF on social media!