Ad campaign encourages Black families to adopt


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African American children comprise 32 percent of the 510,000 children in foster care. In an attempt to offset these numbers, AdoptUSKids -- a family funded program -- will unveil new ads encouraging African American parents to adopt African American children.

"The need is broad, there are about a half a million kids in foster care in America today, about 20 percent of them need homes. Of those, there is a disproportionate number who are ... African American," said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.

Pertman says while Black kids make up about 15 percent of the general population; they make up 32 percent of the foster care population, "And those kids are mainly older -- nearly half of them are over the age of nine. So what we need is the families who are ready to parent older kids, and African-American kids."

According to Pertman, research shows that African American families are more likely to adopt older kids.

Kathy Ledesma, project director of AdoptUSKids, explained that the organization's ad campaign will aid in recruiting more African American families:

"We operate the national website -- the national photo listing website -- about 52 percent of the children on our website are African American. Families also register on our site when they have an approved home study; but only about 15 percent of the families registered on our site are African American.

"The federal law, The Multi-Ethinic Placement Act of 1994, requires us to make diligent efforts to recruit families that reflect the race and ethnicities of the children who are in care, or who are likely to need care. So this upcoming media campaign is one of those efforts, one of those tools, that we're providing to states and private agencies to help in that recruitment effort."

AdoptUSKids ran a similar campaign in Spanish, which Ledesma says was a success, "We had an incredible response, and the number of Hispanic children who have been featured on our website who have subsequently been adopted have been phenomenal."

To help families consider adoption, AdoptUSKids provides phone counselors and online services, and works with state and private agencies to refer families.

Pertman says while race shouldn't be the only factor in adoption, it should be considered in placement, "Because it is an issue in America."

Visit the AdoptUSKids website and the Adoption Institute website.

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