In a startling new report, Bethany Christian Services, one of the largest adoption agencies in the country, announced that allowing white families to adopt Black children from the foster care system “can cause a lot of harm to children of color.” As a result, the agency favors “overhauling” the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, which bars racial discrimination in placing a child into an adoptive family. As part of its “long journey toward becoming an anti-racist organization,” Bethany’s leaders now believe a child’s race should be considered “as part of the best interest determination for child placement.”
How the agency arrived at this backward view—that determining the most welcoming, stable and potentially permanent home for a child should involve matching their skin color with that of the adults involved—is worth understanding both because it bodes ill for the tens of thousands of children of all races who need permanent homes and because it demonstrates just how quickly our understanding of discrimination has shifted in recent years.
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