Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No Equity in Adoption for Black Children

Reporting on a lecture series about the psychological development of of black children, this about adoption of black children by black families:
Zena F. Oglesby Jr., MSW, director of the Institute for Black Parenting (IBP) asserts that Black families face many of the same obstacles they did 35 years ago. Most agencies still operate under guidelines and practices developed from a White middle-class perspective. Outside of large cities, most public agency staff members are White. Some White workers are uncomfortable venturing into Black parts of town to recruit families, and some Black families are equally reluctant to approach a White agency.

Oglesby, a respected author, speaker and founder of (IBP) claims that the greatest barrier to adoption is workers’ belief that Black families "don’t have what it takes" to adopt from foster care.

He cited several studies including a 1988 federal study of 800 Black families targeted for recruitment as adoptive parents. Of these only two were approved. According to the study, the mostly White recruiters gave reasons for denial such as the applicants were ‘obese or were of below average intelligence’.

Oglesby recalled a San Bernardino family was denied because the mother had to drive to her job in Los Angeles. “She had to get up too early.” Another suggested a blown out light bulb in a home’s hallway leading to the bedrooms signalled “a family culture of neglect”.

The denials Oglesby said were largely based on a theory that you could not find minority families for minority children, a theory that lead to the formation of the nation’s first licensed Black adoption agencies in the mid-1980s.

A student asked Oglesby ‘what happened to those families’. “We turned around and approved many of them. We proved the system was beyond broken,” he said.
I posted on this issue back in October during the St. John's Adoption Conference -- click here for more.


DannieA said...

whoever did the stupid denial of the commute from San Bernardino to LA was obviously smoking crack....socal people (yes I'm one of them and go from a neighboring city to another in LA county) COMMUTE as a way of life.

wow. that's all I can say...wow.

JaeRan said...

Unfortunately I've experienced this first hand, when a youth on my case load identified a culturally similar family but the social workers thought the "neighborhood" that family lived in would be "too risky" for the child.

Social workers are so good at using coded language, however unsubtle, to discriminate.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, this man has an agenda and so he promotes the research that supports his assertions. (Which we are all guilty of, certainly). The only research he could find was from 1988? Nothing has changed since then? Sorry, I am not buying it. Most AP's who foster and adopt are parenting kids of diverse races, or hoping to... and there are long waiting lists to adopt babies, yes, even the allegedly unwanted African American males. The kids who have trouble getting placed are the older kids with troubling psychological diagnoses, and then there is certainly a racial component, but more along the lines of gender, I think. Look at all the people who adopt from China and pat themselves on the back for being so "open to another race", but when push comes to shove they only want a "cute baby girl" and get a referral for a boy and become indignant over it....
Gender discrimination is also the dirty little secret in adoption--the point gets raised every so often but then it goes away again til the next time, with no resolution as to why so many AP's want girls.