1. Does the proportion of adopted Black children differ from White children?
2. Does time to adoption for Black children differ from White children?
3. What factors predict the likelihood of adoption?
This study utilized data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) focusing on White and Black children (n = 18,567) who were adopted in 2014. Bivariate analysis examined differences in adoption rate and other variables at the individual, family, and system levels between White and Black children. Event history analysis modeled time to adoption finalization and to identify factors predicting the likelihood of adoption.
The sample consisted of 27% Black children and 49% were girls. Results from event history analysis indicated that white children were 50% more likely to be adopted than Black children. White children had considerably fewer days from termination of parental rights (TPR) to formal adoption finalization with a median time of 273.5 days compared to Black children with a median time of 328 days. Age at first removal was significantly younger for Black (M=2.7) than White (M=3.2). Black children spent longer in out-of-home care with a median time of 1010 days than White children with a median time of 767 days. Factors that decreased the likelihood of adoption included child mental retardation, physical disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, older age at first OHP, higher number of OHP, neglect history, parental alcohol abuse and disability, and housing issue while parental substance abuse increased the likelihood of adoption. We also found a significant interaction effect of the relationship between race and maltreatment subtypes on adoption. Of children with the similar type of maltreatment, Black children are less likely to be adopted than white children.
Findings of this study highlight racial disparities in the path from OHP to adoption between Black and White children. Of children with similar individual and family characteristics and system involvement history, Black children are less likely to be adopted than White children, which suggests racial bias in decision-making points and difficulty recruiting adoptive parents of color. More dedicated outreach programs and resources must be developed for partnerships with Black community organizations to ensure the effectiveness of adoption services and cultural continuity for Black children.