Protection from Racial Discrimination in Adoption and Foster Care
Summary of Section 1808 of the Small Business Job Protection Act
and the Multiethnic Placement Act
Section 1808 of the Small Business Job Protection Act (Section 1808) and the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) were enacted to ensure that adoption and foster care placements are not delayed or denied based on race, color or national origin. These statutes were also intended to remove barriers to permanency for children in child welfare systems, and to facilitate the diligent recruitment and retention of foster and adoptive parents. MEPA was passed by Congress in 1994. In 1996, Congress passed Section 1808. Section 1808 amended and repealed some parts of MEPA, and became effective on January 1, 1997.
These statutes prohibit the delay or denial of adoptive or foster care placements on the basis of race, color or national origin, and prohibit denying prospective adoptive or foster parents the opportunity to adopt or foster children based on race, color or national origin. A violation of these prohibitions is also a violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin by the recipients of federal financial assistance.
Section 1808 also provides for financial penalties against recipients of federal funds provided under Title IV(E) of the Social Security Act who violate Section 1808. The financial penalty process is administered by the HHS Administration for Children and Families (ACF).