The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 as amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996 (IEP), is designed to:
- Eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin of the child or the prospective foster or adoptive parents
- Decrease the length of time that children wait to be adopted
- Facilitate the identification, recruitment and retention of foster and adoptive parents who can meet the distinctive needs of children awaiting placement
MEPA/IEP prohibits states or agencies that receive federal funds from delaying or denying the placement of any child on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the child or the prospective foster or adoptive parents.
Any decision to consider the use of race as a necessary element of a placement decision must be based on concerns arising out of the circumstances of the individual case and based on the best interests of the child. Only the most compelling reasons may serve to justify consideration of race and ethnicity as part of a placement decision. Such reasons are likely to emerge only in unique and individual circumstances. Accordingly, occasions where race or ethnicity lawfully may be considered in a placement decision are very rare. Children who meet the definition of an Indian child in accordance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) [25 U.S.C. Section 1903(4)] are placed according to the placement preferences found in ICWA. MEPA/IEP does not prohibit a preference for placing a child with relatives.
As part of MEPA/IEP, efforts to recruit resource families must reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of children in Oklahoma who need foster and adoptive homes.
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