For decades, agencies have taken a fatalistic approach to the adoptability of African American children. As a result, African American children are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system, remain in foster care the longest and have the poorest adoption placement rates. At the same time, census bureau statistics reveal that African American families take in over 800,000 children in informal adoption arrangements. Further, Dr. Robert Hill’s research and others reveal that African American families adopt at a rate three to four time greater than any other ethnic group. Armed with this knowledge, NABSW has engaged in several proactive efforts to bring together African American children who need adoptive families with African American families who seek to adopt. Sponsoring an adoption exchange during its national conference is NABSW’s most recent example.
In 2004, the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) sponsored its first adoption exchange during the 36th Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The decision to sponsor an exchange at the conference was one of many proactive efforts NABSW has undertaken to recruit African American families for African American children.
At that exchange, agencies from Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, Georgia, New York, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Oklahoma registered African American children who were available for adoption, and African American families who were approved to adopt. In addition to those states, conference participants from many other states stopped by the exchange to see if there were families and children featured who could be placed with families and children from their states.
In advance of the second exchange at the 2005 37th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, registrations were received from Georgia, California, Louisiana, Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia’s National One Church One Child program.
PURPOSE OF THE EXCHANGE
NABSW’s Adoption Exchange is designed to dispel the myth that African American families do not adopt or are not available. The adoption exchange is a wonderful networking opportunity. Throughout the conference, conferees are provided with an opportunity to get information about agencies that have programs targeted on adoption recruitment and agencies that have approved African American families who are seeking to adopt children who are in foster care. In addition to providing connections to adoption resources, the exchange also provides statistical information on the child welfare industry and resources for staff and agency development.
Perhaps the most significant purpose of the adoption exchange is to gather and disseminate information about individuals, programs and agencies throughout the country who are actively involved in finding African American adoptive families. In doing so, another proactive NABSW initiative, the development of a national African American resource guide, will be available for agencies throughout the country who express difficulty in finding African American families – something that NABSW has never found impossible to do.
Black Adoption Agencies and Programs
This list is representative of a few agencies and programs that demonstrate successful adoption outcomes for African American children and families.
1. Another Choice for Black Children
Ruth Amerson, Executive Director
Tanya Williams Bell, Executive Director
3. Virginia National One Church One Child
Sonya Peters/Charlene White
4. Who If Not Us
Silver Springs, MD
5. Black Adoption and Placement Resource Center
Gloria King, Executive Director
6. ABSW Child Adoption and Research Center
New York, NY
Roosevelt George, Executive Director
7. Institute for Black Parenting
Zena Oglesby, Executive Director
8. Institute for Black Parenting
New Orleans, LA
Brenda Bocage, Executive Director
Toni Oliver, President & CEO
10. African American Adoption and Permanency Planning Agency
St Paul, MN
Marquita Stephens, Executive Director
11. National Resource Center for Special Needs Adoption
Spaulding for Children
Addie Williams, President & CEO
12. Three Rivers Adoption Council
Jackie Wilson, Executive Director
13. Homes for Black Children
Jacquelynn Moffett, Executive Director
14. Mississippi Families for Kids
Linda West, Director