Children and youth of color are overrepresented in the child welfare system as well as in the population of children and youth whose parents’ rights have been terminated. While the presence of ethnically, culturally, and racially-diverse individuals in leadership roles in child welfare adoption services does not in itself ensure that children and youth who share these characteristics will be adopted, this presence may facilitate greater openness on the part of adults or communities of color to trust the child welfare system.
Furthermore, ethnically, culturally, and racially-diverse leadership may be of invaluable assistance to the child welfare system for the identification of barriers faced by minority individuals and families while suggesting viable strategies for overcoming barriers.
The National Resource Center for Adoption (NRCA) established in 2005, the Minority Adoption Leadership Development Institute (MALDI). This program provides and enhances leadership skills of potential and emerging leaders of color selected from within child welfare adoption. These leaders are selected from States, Counties, Tribes and/or State Regions with the highest number of children of color awaiting adoption and/or high-disproportionality rates. In the selection process, efforts are made to ensure diverse-regional representation. Also, these emerging leaders are provided mentors from the National Association of State Adoption Programs (NASAP) who work with the participants as they complete 12 months of job-related project assignments (Action Research Projects) which increase their technical expertise as well as their leadership capacities with concurrent structured mentoring.
Participants in MALDI are selected from State, County, Tribal and/or State Regional child welfare systems that have a high number of children of color awaiting adoption and/or high-disproportionality rates. Mentors are recruited from the current members of NASAP and from the “mentees” resident state. These mentors are provided training in effective mentoring and coaching and are supported by NRCA staff throughout the mentoring process.
MALDI will convene two learning Institutes for the 2012-2013 session. Each institute will involve a series of learning session over a three-day period. The first on-site learning session for the current Institute was July 16 -19, 2012, in Detroit, Michigan. The final three-day Learning Institute will be held July 15-17, 2013, in Washington, DC.
These institutes may include the following topical areas:
- Adaptive Leadership
- Executive Leadership
- Cultural Competence, Responsiveness, and Class
- Emotional Intelligence
- Child/Youth Well-being: Trauma, Grief and Loss in Adoption
- Database Decision Making and Evidence Informed Practice
- Kinship Adoption
- Leadership in Adoption: Change from the Middle
- Overcoming Barriers to Minority Adoption/Disproportionality
- Preparing for Diversity: Challenges and Opportunities in Child Welfare
- Permanency in the Courts
- Youth in Adoption
The Expert Faculty
Faculty for the Institutes are prominent leaders in the adoption field from the Children’s Bureau, universities, public and private adoption agencies, legal/judicial organizations, and national advocacy organizations.