Goals of the policy
My policy I choose from, (‘Administrative Policies’, n.d) the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act as Amended by the Inter-Ethnic Adoption Provision of 1996. It has to do with transracial adoption. The purpose of this policy is associated with the Department of Children’s Services, it strives to push the best enthusiasm of all children set in cultivate mind by avoiding discrimination in the position of children on the support of race, color or national origin. This objective might be met by selecting and distinguishing asset families that can best help these kids (‘Administrative Policies’, n.d).
Social Work Speaks
According to Anastas & Clark, (2012), 58% of the children in foster care are children of color other than white. Reading this section I came across a lot of laws and acts that led up to the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act. One was called the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974. Years later the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 came about. This act was made to ‘ establish standards to ensure reasonable efforts prior to the removal of Indian children from their families where as the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 prioritized family preservation and permanency as major goals of child welfare’ (Anastas & Clark, 2012, p.148).
The Multi-Ethnic Placement Act policy and the purpose of it is the same in the Social Work Speaks book. Anastas & Clark, (2012) stated that it was to prevent people from discriminating against race, color and national origin in home/family placements and foster care placements. Later in time the Inter-Ethnic Adoption provision of Small Business Jobs Protection Act of 1996 then explained the intentions of the Multi- Ethnic Placement Act, to take away the thought and doing so of matching children with families by, ‘race or culture, decreasing the length of time in care, facilitate the recruitment and retention of foster parents, and establish specific financial penalties for noncompliance with MEPA’ (Anastas & Clark, 2012, p.149).
I believe that Social Works Speaks gives a broader explanation about the policy statement and examples that the NASW supports. Some examples that were included were, ‘recruitment of qualified foster and adoptive parents, including gay and lesbian and racially diverse individuals’ (Anastas & Clark, 2012, p. 152). ‘Legislation legitimizing second ‘ parent adoptions in the same sex households’ (Anastas & Clark, 2012, p. 152). From researching about the Multi- Ethnic Placement Act: Transracial Adoption, I realized society really came along way. Before learning about adoption information and who could adopt, I always thought that a lot of people were against same sex, lesbian and gays adopting, but that is a whole different topic to get into relating to adoption. I can say that all people are able to adopt, no social worker can deny people that are trying to become adoptees based off of race, ethnic background and national origin.
Social work Speaks, Anastas & Clark, (2012) also talks about the issue statement; this is a big thing that I learned, knowing that most of the kids in foster care have special needs and require getting help and support. These children have different reasons why they need access to resources and support from social workers. The problems they have could be emotional, physical, developmental and educational challenges (Anastas & Clark, 2012).The people that come in to contact with child welfare have faced many difficulties like, financial problems, domestic violence, neglect their children and an unstable environment (Anastas & Clark, 2012). When safety is a concern in the household child protective services automatically remove the child/children from the home and place them in foster care (Anastas & Clark, 2012).
Social workers face so many stressors working with the child welfare system like having a heavy caseload, limited resources for their clients, administrative problems, not having a lot of training with supervision provided (Anastas & Clark, 2012). Therefore comparing the policy to social works position from Social Work Speaks it is very much related but in other ways Social Work Speaks gives a great detail of information regarding children and their background, the issue statement referring to the children, families, and the social worker.
History of Transracial Adoption: Multi-Ethnic Placement Act
There was a lot of history that came about before the Multi- Ethnic Placement Act was passed by congress. Let’s first start off by saying that transracial Adoption was seen as an instrument for policymakers to help white couples who couldn’t bear kids (Banigo & Wilson 2013). Advocates of race matching contended that setting children with families of the same race advertises the best diversions of the children in consideration, as opposed to the investment of grown-ups who are looking to adopt (Banigo & Wilson 2013).
An important historical fact before it came about would be, in 1948 the first recorded transracial adoption of an African-American child by white parents took place in Minnesota (Herman, 2012). 1953 through 1958 was the first nationally coordinated effort to locate adoptive homes for African American children, the National Urban League Foster Care and Adoptions Project Herman (2012). In 1972, when the National Association of Black Social Workers opened up a conversation contradicting transracial adoption, the discussion had raged about putting kids with families that do not have the same ethnic and racial lines; this was a social problem at the time (‘Multiethnic Placement’, n.d.).
According to Herman (2012) in 1973, the Child Welfare League of America adoption standards were rewritten to clarify that same-race placements were always better; it had also been revised before that in 1968 to make them slightly friendlier to transracial adoption. It was also said by Herman (2012) that the child welfare establishment didn’t agree or support transracial adoptions. They were worried about the effect of the strategy on children waiting for families and for its more extensive message about racism in our society (‘Multiethnic Placement’, n.d.).Associations, for example the National Committee to end racism and the National Council for adoption set out to change this, to find a way they urged that elected law be changed to boycott separation in reception (‘Multiethnic Placement’, n.d.).
The U.S senator at the time, Howard M. Metzenbaum wanted to take action on this, which he did and he succeeded. That’s when the Multi-ethnic placement act came about, no longer could people receiving federal funds deny the placement of children in foster care and adoption because of their race and how they look (‘Multiethnic Placement’ n.d.).The Multi-Ethnic Placement Act has been around since 1994, but just because this act is around does not mean that discrimination still does not go on, it still exist today all over America. It seems from the information given, before the Multi- Ethnic Placement Act was established that social workers believed that matching up children to their race was the best idea, they never thought twice about it. But on the day of October 20, 1994 President Clinton signed the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994, which includes, the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994.
The Multi- Ethnic Placement Act supplemented existing legitimate principles precluding separation on the groundwork of race, color and national origin, which are the, Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (‘Ensuring the Best’, n.d). The act holds two focal acquisitions, one would be that it prohibits utilization of a child or prospective parent’s race, color and national origin to deny the child’s position (‘Ensuring the Best’, n.d). Therefore, parents and children’s rights are protected. The second one ‘Requires States to provide for diligent recruitment of potential foster and adoptive families that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of the children in care for whom homes are needed’ (‘Ensuring the Best’, n.d, p. 5) After the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, came the Bastard Nation, it was founded in 1996. Its mission statement promoted ‘the full human and civil rights of adult adoptees, including access to sealed records’ (Herman, 2012, Timeline of Adoption History). Next in 1997 was the Adoption and Safe Families Act. ‘The purpose and the guidelines were meant to increase the number of adoptions, to encourage states to expedite permanency decisions for children in foster care, to establish performance standards and implement a physical punitive state accountability system (Zigler & Hall, 2000). It also expanded the Family Preservation and Family Support Services Program, now called Promoting Safe and Stable Families, to provide additional funding for adoption promotion and support activities and for time-limited family reunification services (Zigler & Hall, 2000).
Benefits and Eligibility
Benefits of the Multi-ethnic placement act serves to help everyone in the situation of the adoption process no matter your race. This can include the birthmother, birthfather, the child who is being placed for adoption as well as the adoptees (‘American Pregnancy’ 2013). Adoption helps a wide range of things, like coming to the end of a traumatic situation. Some benefits of adoption with the birthmother would be counseling and the support given to her through giving her child up for adoption (‘American Pregnancy’ 2013). This helps her cope with the situation and being able to have someone to guide her through. Others would be, the opportunity to give your child a better life, prenatal and delivery expenses covered as needed and the happiness that comes from knowing that the adoptive parents are aware that you love your baby enough to secure his or her happiness (‘American Pregnancy’ 2013). The benefits of adoption regarding the adoptive family would be, getting the opportunity and chance to adopt, the experience of raising a child and being able to experience the aspects of pregnancy and other experience that wouldn’t be possible (‘American Pregnancy’ 2013). Lastly the benefits for the child would be, the support and love given to them from the adoptive parents who are emotionally and able to parent, a good home environment the child has been wanting as well as being able to get an education and get involved in extracurricular activities (‘American Pregnancy’ 2013).
The eligibility requirements for transracial adoption would first start with the application process, all prospective parents need to fill the application out and take part in a screening, they then need a doctor’s statement stating that you are healthy; you also need financial records, and get a criminal background check as well as a child abuse clearance, this is so the social worker knows the child will be safe (‘Pennsylvania Statewide’2013). According to (‘Pennsylvania Statewide’2013) if you or a member of your household has been identified as a perpetrator of a child abuse report, or convicted of a drug or alcohol related felony within the previous five years, or convicted of any sexual or violent crimes, your application will not be considered. During the application process, you will need to provide non family member references and family references.
The next step in the process of adoption would be the Family Profile Home Study; this is when the family has to complete the adoptive family profile (‘Pennsylvania Statewide’2013). The home study is multiple meetings between the adoptive parents and the agency; some require individual interviews with the parents to determine if the home environment is safe, as well as a caring place to raise a child; other hold group sessions with several different families (‘Pennsylvania Statewide’2013). This process is meant for the adults trying to become adoptive parents to ask questions and for the social the social worker to come into your home and observe, ask about your background, life experiences, reasons why you decided to adopt, not only that, but if you are married they ask about your relationship and how you and your spouse handle disagreements (‘Pennsylvania Statewide’2013). If it is one adoptee not two the social worker will ask about where the child will go to if they have to go to work or things like going out. Once a child is chosen for the adoptive parents or parent, they will need to have a lawyer file a report of Intent to Adopt (‘Pennsylvania Statewide’ 2013).’ It was also said that when the adoption is finalized, supervision then happens and support for the child and the new family; in most cases the process lasts up to about three to six months, including that the child has been there for six months for the adoption to be finalized (‘Pennsylvania Statewide’2013). I know based off of my knowledge from friends of the family that went through the adoption process that you have to provide permanent homes and commitment to the child or children into adulthood and provide for the short-term and long-term needs of them.
Along the way of researching the Multi-Ethnic placement: Transracial Adoption, I came across some specific aspects that need to be given and provided to the transracial children. Examples from (‘Transracial Parenting’, n.d, p.5) would be,
‘every child is entitled to love and full membership in the family, every child is entitled to have his culture embraced and valued, every child is entitled to parents who know that this is a race conscious society, every child is entitled to parents who know that she will experience life differently than they do and lastly another one would be, every child is entitled to parents who are not looking to save him or to improve the world.’
The beneficiaries of the policy would be the adopters and the children being adopted because service is being given to them, and they are benefiting from it, due to the fact that the adults or adult is getting their wishes met which is being able to adopt and the children are getting put in a loving home.
Administration and Financing
The Multi- Ethnic Placement Act was amended Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (‘Children Welfare’, n.d.). According to the (‘U.S Government, 1988) they gave information on the implementation of the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994, and who administers the policy. It was stated that,
‘as amended, at the federal level and in states with large and ethnically diverse foster care caseloads, focusing on the efforts by federal, state, and local agencies to implement the 1994 act in the areas of assistance also efforts by federal, state, and local agencies in these same areas to implement the 1996 amendment to the act; and the challenges all levels of government face to change placement practices (‘U.S Government’, 1988, Implementation of the Multiethnic Placement Act Poses Difficult Challenges, para 2).
With that said, state agencies are getting money from the federal government. What the state cannot do that, receives title IV-E funds from the federal government is, deny an individual the right to adopt on the basis of the child’s or the perspective parent’s race, color and national origin, as well as deny a child’s placement (‘Ensuring the Best’, n.d). The state may come up with their own recruitment plan, which means finding the right qualities the children need from the family he or she is placed with (‘Ensuring the Best’, n.d).
Issues and problems with finances and implementation
When it comes to the process of putting the Multi- Ethnic Placement Act into effect, it came across several problems (‘Foster Care’, 1988). First, Health and Human services were doing little to make aware the issues of casework practice issues, during and after the Multi- Ethnic Placement Act was being put into effect , there were people all over America still discriminating against adoption and foster care, regarding the child being placed with a family as the same ethnic background as theirs. Children still had to wait a long period of time to be put in a home (‘Foster Care’, 1988). Not only that but there was a lot of states that needed to change their foster care, adoption policies and state laws; it was said that,
’28 states including the District of Columbia were not in conformance with the act, but completed corrective actions; investigating complaints of discrimination that were filed with the agency; and making available other information and resources from its contracted Resource Centers, including assistance to individual states’ (‘Foster Care’, 1988, Implementation of the Multiethnic Placement Act Poses Difficult Challenges, para 2)
It was said by critics, that ‘placing a minority child with white parents can be threatening to the racial identity of the youth, and that the law doesn’t do enough to recruit adoptive parents of color’ ( Teicher 1999,p.1) Howard Metzenbaum, a senator from Ohio and the man that made up the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, agreed to what they were saying (Teicher, 1999). Also Black social workers also had their mind set on that white families not adopt black children, and that they’re willing to keep them in foster homes instead of helping white families adopt the children (Teicher, 1999). When it comes to financing, (Anastas & Clark, 2012) social work speaks talks about how the funding of child welfare services is harmed by the economic, it affects budgets and makes many agencies lessen their capacity, they cut programs, get rid of staff members; when this happens that means that they don’t take as many children into foster care.
Although I couldn’t find specific information on the act being 100% successful, I myself can specify that by doing research on the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, I believe in some ways that it was a success. My reasoning for it not to be 100% accurate is that, people of all races are discriminating all around still to this day. When it comes to social workers it is one of their policies that they cannot judge a family based on their race, background and national origin. The people outside of the adoption and foster care facilities are the ones that are making it harder to judge this act. I can also side with that one opinion and say, when it comes to the laws and policies and the change of heart with the MEPA, it is defiantly a success, due to the fact that more white families are adopting a different race as well as black families. Not only do I think this, but the one who put together this act, Howard Metzenbaum, believed in his act.
Metzenbaum (1995) stated in his commentary that, the Multiethnic Placement Act will strengthen the federal government’s commitment in improving the lives of children and getting rid of harmful discrimination. Out of all the research and resource I have come in contact with I can say that this Act has made our society, much better than what it was back then, considering most people were once against transracial adoption.
Gaps and Needs
In an article, Jennings (2006) did a study against transracial adoption where she had interviewed a few women, some of them were looking to adopt or was just interested in the topic. It was said by all these women that when or if they adopted, they wanted the child to fit into their family, meaning, that the child be the same race (Jennings 2006). They had also said they did not ‘view this as a race- based decision and they simply did not realize that wanting a child who will fit into their family is racializing (Jennings, 2006, p.8). Women in this study were against transracial adoption because they were scared that a child of a different color than their family would be harmed by negative attitudes and racist comments by their family, friends and neighbors Jennings (2006) .One of the participants in the study had explained that having a black or Asian child was not an option because her father was in War World II and he had gotten some bad thoughts about them and formed really bad opinions against them, she choose to stay away from the two ethnic background because she wanted the child that she would adopt to be loved by her whole family as well as to be comfortable around everyone (Jennings, 2006). Lastly, multiple women that had been interviewed stated that they would not be able to get the child of color to establish a ‘healthy racial identity and to cope with racism in society’ (Jennings, 2006, p.8).
There was an article written by a women talking about her views on transracial adoption, and how a women from Hawaii reached out to her because she had saw it in the Washington post newspaper in 1996. In that article she had talked about how transracial adoption should be the last resort. Later in time she changed those views and she finally adopted a boy of color. Noerdlinger (2007) had stated in her new article that, she touched the women from Hawaii but, very much frightened her at the same time because her and her husband were looking into transracial adoption. Noerdlinger (2007) had stated that the reason of changing her view is because there are too many children placed under adoption, and the world would be a better place if homes were provided to them. A better foundation for transracial adoption would be, to understand that while’ there are many similarities in various cultures and races, there are indeed differences (Noerdlinger 2007, para.2).
Therefore I believe that people need to have a better understanding of transracial adoption, they need not automatically think that they cannot do it. Simply do some research about transracial adoption, change your families views on it, talk about racial comments and how it is not helping society today, that being one less person to discriminate against it will help. Just by people being aware of transracial adoption and not judging against it gives the people that are thinking about adopting a child of a different color or race, a better outlook on it. Everyone should be treated equally.
Agencies and Services provided
Some agencies and the services provided would be, Adoption Unlimited, which is a full service, non-profit PA licensed adoption agency. It is a small agency that is able to provide loving and caring support to adoptive families; to get in contact with them or to check out the agency the agency, they are located at 2148 Embassy Drive, Lancaster, PA 17603 and their telephone number is (717) 431-2021(‘Adoption Unlimited’, n.d.). The second one is, The Families United Network, it is an adoption agency providing adoption from foster care, and both domestic and international adoption and related services, to get in contact with them their address is, 412 S. Angle Street, Mount Joy, PA 17552 and their telephone number is (717)-492-9338(‘ Families United, 2014’).
The last major agency would be, Bethany Christian, the services they offer deal with pregnancy, adoption, U.S infant adoption, international foster care adoption, temporary care, foster care and safe families. To get locate them they are at 1681 Crown Avenue, Suite 201 Lancaster, PA 17601-6314, their telephone number is (717)399-3213 (‘Bethany Christian, 2014). I found that each deal with transracial adoption, it helps to provide foster care and adoptive services for needy children, assisting families in foster parent adoptions. Also each one provides counseling services regarding adoption. Not only that but each agency explains that they support gay/ lesbian adoption and they’re strong about it.
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