ERIC Number: ED424924
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Foster Care: Implementation of the Multiethnic Placement Act Poses Difficult Challenges. Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives.
General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Health, Education, and Human Services Div.
The Multiethnic Placement Act and its 1996 amendment sought to reduce the time children wait to be adopted by eliminating race-related barriers to placement. This report provides information on federal, state, and local efforts to implement the act and its amendment in foster care and adoption placement policy, guidance, and technical assistance; and barriers to changing placement practices. Several data collection methods were used, including interviews with foster care and adoption program officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the California Department of Social Services, and caseworkers in two California counties; review of relevant laws, regulations, and documents; and review of selected technical assistance activities. The findings indicated that HHS provided less help to states and was slower to revise guidance after the 1996 amendments than in 1994. Both California counties have trained caseworkers on the amendment. Among the challenges remaining at all government levels are changing long-standing placement practices, translating legal principles into practical advice, and developing compliance monitoring systems. Implementing the amended act predominantly relies on caseworkers' understanding and willingness to eliminate race from placement decisions; however, not all believe that eliminating race considerations will result in the best placements for children. Neither the state nor HHS has provided clear guidance in applying the law to casework. Federal efforts to determine whether placement decisions are consistent with the amended act will be hampered by difficulties in obtaining complete and sufficient data. Seven appendices include the HHS communications regarding the legislation's provisions. (KB)
Descriptors: Adoption, Child Welfare, Children, Federal Legislation, Foster Care, Foster Children, Foster Family, Public Policy, Race, Resistance to Change
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013; Tel: 202-512-6000; Fax: 202-512-6061; Web site: http://www.gao.gov; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (First copy free; additional copies $2 each).
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Health, Education, and Human Services Div.