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Protection from Discrimination in Child Welfare Activities

The child welfare system is a group of services designed to promote the well-being of children by ensuring safety, achieving permanency, and strengthening families to care for their children successfully. While the primary responsibility for child welfare services rests with the states, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) supports the delivery of child welfare services through funding of programs and legislative initiatives.   

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing civil rights laws that apply to state, local and federally funded child welfare agencies and some courts.These laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, sex, or age in the delivery of child welfare services:

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VI prohibits federally-funded state and local child welfare agencies and courts from discriminating against individuals on the basis of race, color, or national origin in the provision of benefits and services. This includes taking reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to people with limited english proficiency (LEP).

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Title II and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504 prohibit state, local, and federally funded child welfare agencies and courts from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability in the provision of child welfare services.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Title IX prohibits federally funded state and local child welfare agencies from discriminating on the basis of sex (gender) in federally assisted education programs.

The Age Discrimination Act of 1975

This act prohibits state and local federally funded child welfare agencies and courts from discriminating against individuals on the basis of age.

The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA)

Section 1808(c) of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 amended MEPA, and prohibits state and local federally funded child welfare agencies from using a child’s or adoptive or foster parent’s race, color, or national origin to deny or delay a child’s placement. State agencies must also recruit and retain foster, adoptive, and kinship homes that reflect the diversity of children and youth in the child welfare system.

View Laws and Regulations Enforced by OCR.

How to File a Civil Rights Complaint

Provider Resources


 

Content created by Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Content last reviewed on December 11, 2015
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