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Diligent Recruitment

Diligent Recruitment Requirements of the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA)


The Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) of 1994, as amended, prohibits the delay or denial of any adoption or placement in foster care due to the race, color, or national origin of the child or the foster or adoptive parents. It also requires States to provide for diligent recruitment of potential foster and adoptive families who reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children for whom homes are needed. To meet MEPA’s diligent efforts requirements, States must have a comprehensive plan that includes:

  1. A description of the characteristics of waiting children;
  2. Specific strategies to reach all parts of the community;
  3. Diverse methods of disseminating both general and child-specific information;
  4. Strategies for assuring that all prospective parents have access to the home study process, including location and hours of services that facilitate access by all members of the community;
  5. Strategies for training staff to work with diverse cultural, racial, and economic communities;
  6. Strategies for dealing with linguistic barriers;
  7. Non-discriminatory fee structures; and
  8. Procedures ensuring a timely search for prospective parents awaiting a child, including the use of exchanges and other interagency efforts, provided that such procedures ensure that the placement of a child in an appropriate household is not delayed by the search for a same race or ethnic placement.

Find out more about how diligent recruitment requirements relate to MEPA by reading “Section 4.1 MEPA/IEAP, Diligent Recruitment” of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau’s Child Welfare Policy Manual.

The National Resource Center for Adoption materials (now housed on Spaulding for Children's website) has valuable resources for child welfare agencies on MEPA, including: