Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Does Not Follow

Perhaps I expect too much, but these two paragraphs of the NYT article on MEPA just do not make sense:
But it found that social workers and state agencies fear litigation and stiff penalties under the law for even discussing race with adopting couples. As a result, families often do not get the counseling they need. It also found that states have ignored an aspect of the law that requires diligent recruitment of black parents.

The report recommends that the law — the Multiethnic Placement Act, which covers agencies receiving federal dollars and promotes a color-blind approach — be amended to permit agencies to consider race and culture as one of many factors when selecting parents for children from foster care.
Shouldn't the second paragraph read "be amended to permit social workers and state agencies to recommend resources to help raise a black child in a white home and to strengthen recruiting measures for black parents"? What the recommendation is actually asking for is race matching. Race matching is the reason why MEPA was passed: social workers were letting black children stagnate in unstable and unsafe foster homes rather than place them with qualified and eager white couples. Part of the reason that progress has been slow is that even after MEPA was passed, many social workers flouted the law and refused to place black children with white parents.

Even with increased recruitment, there are not enough black adoptiers to take in all the black children in foster care. Identity issues and a loving home, or repeated ricocheting between an abusive or neglectful home and an only marginally-better foster home: those are the choices.
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