The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 as amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996 requires states to make efforts to recruit a diverse group of resource parents that match the demographic of their population of out-of-home care (OOHC) children. However, the law prohibits states from delaying or denying placement based solely on race, color, or national origin of the foster parents or the child.
Agencies may not require a certain period of time to search for a same-race placement if an appropriate transracial placement is available when the child's need for placement arises. Nor may the agency routinely permit same-race placements while requiring caseworkers to specially justify a transracial placement. If no appropriate placement options are immediately available, the agency may conduct a search, but the search cannot be limited to same-race prospective parents except in those rare circumstances where the child has a specific and demonstrable need for a same-race placement.
While consideration of race and ethnicity are important, consideration of a child’s cultural background is equally paramount. The Cabinet strives to ensure that a child’s well-being is maintained throughout his/her stay in out-of-home care and this begins with being sensitive not only to a child’s race and ethnicity but also to individual family culture. Culture encompasses many aspects of life and can be individualized to a family or a specific area of the state. It is important to acknowledge a child’s culture and assist the child in preserving their family’s cultural background while in out of home care.