Finding Families for African American Children: The Role of Race and Law in Adoption From Foster Care.
Policy & Practice Perspective.
Smith, Susan Livingston. McRoy, Ruth. Freundlich, Madelyn. Kroll, Joe.
Donaldson Adoption Institute.
Permission to Copy
Published: May 2008
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
525 Broadway, 6th floor
New York, NY 10012
This paper examines the impact of MEPA-IEP on the adoption outcomes of African American children from the child welfare system by addressing the five questions posed by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission at its hearing in September 2007. While some of these questions can be answered succinctly, others are much more complex and nuanced. The questions were: 1. Has the enactment of MEPA removed barriers to permanency facing children involved in the child welfare system? 2. Has the enactment of MEPA reduced the amount of time minority children spend in foster care or wait to be adopted? 3. How effectively is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services enforcing MEPA/IEPA? What impact has enforcement had on best practices in adoption? 4. What is the impact of DHHS' enforcement of MEPA-IEP on the efforts of prospective parents to adopt or provide foster care for minority children? and 5. Does transracial adoption serve children's best interest or does it have negative consequences for minority children, families, and communities? Major findings indicate: The enactment of MEPA-IEP has not resulted in equity in achieving permanency for African American children awaiting adoption; African American children still stay in foster care an average of nine months longer than do White children; The interpretations of MEPA-IEP that have served as the basis for its enforcement run counter to widely accepted best practices in adoption; and The diligent recruitment provision of MEPA-IEP has not been well implemented and is not being enforced. (Author abstract modified)
transracial adoption; african americans; mepa; permanency; adoption outcomes; foster children; adoption; foster adoption