Family Preservation Task Force
Toni Oliver and James Freeman
This committee continues its work to support NABSW’s position statement that Black family preservation is the overarching goal of child welfare services. Throughout the history of NABSW, several position papers have been developed that articulate the organizations position on transracial adoption, family preservation and kinship care. For years, NABSW’s position on transracial adoption has generated tremendous interest from the media, educators, students, lawyers, and the general public. During the current administration, responses to requests for our “current” position on transracial adoption has been explained in the context of family preservation – noting that adoption should be the last option to be considered for African American children with the service of choice being in-home services focused on avoiding out-of-home placement. When placement is the imminent option, placement with kin, with supportive services, is the placement of choice.
This committee’s continues to assert the position that the only acceptable option for reducing the disproportionality of African American children in the child welfare system lies in services directed toward avoiding foster care placement, not creating new funding sources to better serve children who after they are removed from their families and communities. This year there has been several documents presented to increase the awareness of the issues of over-representation of Black children in the child welfare system. There was a GOA report (African American Children In Foster Care: Additional HHS Assistance Needed to Help States Reduce the Proportion in Care GAO-07-816 July 11, 2007) as well as the Casey Family Programs work on disporpotionality via the Race Matters Consortium. Therefore, the Family Preservation Committee continues to champion the “reauthorization and increase of funding” for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program (Title IV-B part 2 of the Social Security Act.); The Kinship Caregiver Support Act (S. 985); and Rejection of the proposal to reduce funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). We also are currently reviewing the work of Rep Jim McDermott (D-WA) on his Bill to improve outcomes for vulnerable children titled the Investment in Kids Act.
In 2007, the goal targeted by the committee was to write a new position paper on disparate treatment and disporpotionality and services with African American children and their families. The committee also planned the continuation of hosting the Annual Adoption Exchange to be at the National Conference.
Forward committee planning goals and activities targeted for 2008 include facilitating the Family Symposium for the 40th Annual Conference titled “How Are the Children - Transracial Adoption 40 Years Later. This forum will provide an historical perspective on the development and continuation of NABSW’s position on transracial adoption and an identification of factors that affect, both negatively and positively, children and families in transracial adoptive placements.
In addition the co-chairs will encourage interested members to join the committee in order to share and collect information regarding challenges and successes experienced throughout the country for black youth and children and their families who are receiving services from the child welfare system. Major goals of the committee include:
· Collaboration with agencies, organizations, practitioners and NABSW members to promote legislation and practice models that are in the best interest of African American children and families receiving child welfare services;
· Identification of organizations and practice models that result in desirable outcomes for African American families and are consistent with NABSW’s position on family preservation.