The Multiethnic Placement Act and Transracial Adoption 25 Years Later

12/08/2020

The Multiethnic Placement Act, as amended, enacted in 1994 and known as MEPA (or MEPA/IEP to acknowledge amendments passed in 1996), prohibits child welfare agencies that receive federal funding from delaying or denying foster or adoptive placements because of a child or prospective foster or adoptive parent’s race, color or national origin and from using those factors as a basis for denying approval of a potential foster or adoptive parent. The law also requires agencies to recruit foster and adoptive parents that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of children in out of home care, a process known as diligent recruitment.

Researched approximately 25 years after MEPA’s implementation, this suite of reports uses data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and child welfare monitoring visits, supplemented by interviews with adoption officials and stakeholders in three states, to explore trends in transracial adoption as well as attitudes about MEPA of those involved in making adoptive placements. Several products have been produced from this research:

  1. A research summary providing a short overview of the research as a whole
  2. A graphical factsheet on trends in adoption overall and transracial adoption in particular
  3. An analysis of statistical data on racial disproportionality in adoptive placements
  4. A report examining the attitudes about MEPA and race issues in foster and adoptive placements based on interviews with child welfare professionals in 3 states
  5. A qualitative analysis of the content of states’ diligent recruitment plans which lay out their efforts to comply with MEPA’s requirement to recruit foster and adoptive parents that reflect the racial and ethnic composition of their foster care population

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