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Black adoptions on the rise: increasing number of African American children finding homes.

African Americans have long practiced kinship adoptions-- taking in children of relatives when their biological parents are no longer able to care for them--and the trend is growing. The percentage of kinship adopters grew from 15% in 1998 to 23% in 2003. But a recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of black children under age 18 who are formally adopted is also increasing.

In 2000, 16% of adoptive children were black, up from 12.9% in 1996. That same year, the percentage of children born to African American parents was 13%. This disparity of biological children versus adoptive children is due to the fact that the percentage of black children in the child welfare system is higher than the percentage of black children in the overall population, according to Adopted Children and Stepchildren: 2000.

The number of documented African American adoptive children has increased now that the Census Bureau recognizes kinship adoptions in its data. But to find homes for every child in need, black children would have to be adopted at significantly higher rates, says Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York

Lee Allen, a spokesman for the National Council for Adoption, blames poor recruitment of black adoptive parents. He says there needs to be a concerted recruitment effort, complete with tax and other financial incentives, training, and support. Judith Jackson, president of the National Association of Black Social Workers, agrees, particularly as November is National Adoption Month. But outreach cannot stop there Curbing the number of children entering the child welfare system, she says, is equally important.

Others say the emphasis should be placed on formalizing kinship adoptions so that adoptive children stay within their biological families.
Percentage of Adoptive Children by Race (of child)

 1996 2000
White 69% 57.9%
Black 12.9% 16.0%
Hispanic 8.0% 13.6%
Asian 6.9% 7.4%

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Addison, Kasi K.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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