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date: 01 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the role of race in the adoptive placement of children. In examining the law and policy issues, the chapter raises questions both about the role of race in American society and about the needs of children. These issues are reflected in the interplay in adoption law of two pivotal principles: the best interests of the child standard and the antidiscrimination principle. The best interests of the child standard is the guiding principle of child welfare law; the antidiscrimination principle has been incorporated into family law during the past half-century and disfavors decision making on the basis of race and certain other characteristics. Policy makers confront the challenge of how best to define each of these principles, and also how to balance or choose between them when they conflict. The chapter also identifies an apparent persistent gap in this realm between official policy and the daily practices of the social workers who orchestrate adoptions in the foster care system.

Keywords: adoption, child placement, child welfare, discrimination, race matching, social services

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