Leaving Foster Care: Old Myths and New Realities.
Wulczyn, Fred H.
Joint Center for Poverty Research Conference. Child Welfare Services Research and its Policy Implications (2003 : Washington, D.C.) Joint Center for Poverty Research.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
Published: March 2003
Available from: Joint Center for Poverty Research
University of Chicago Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies 1155 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
This paper explores two assumptions that were at the heart of child welfare policy making for much of the last decade: increasingly sluggish adoption processes slowed the pace of adoptions and accounted for burgeoning State foster care caseloads; and African American children are less likely to be adopted than white children. To investigate the veracity of these assumptions, longitudinal data was drawn from the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive to examine the exit patterns for children admitted between the years 1990 and 1997. Results indicate the pace of adoptions in the early to mid 1990s was generally steady from one year to the next, and that there is little evidence of a slow down in the aggregate data. In fact, toward the middle of the decade, the pace of adoptions actually quickened. The sense the system was overwhelmed with children awaiting adoption was due largely to the fact that, in the end, any process improvements States implemented were not large enough to offset the substantial increase in the number of children admitted in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The data also suggest that African American children are somewhat more likely to be adopted than Caucasian children, but that adoptions involving African American children happen later in the placement process. Recommendations for improving child welfare services are provided. (Author abstract modified)
minority adoption; foster care; length of stay; waiting children; african americans; racial disproportionality; trend analysis