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April 2006Vol. 7, No. 3African American Adoptions Through Private Agencies

African American parents who adopted through private agencies that specialized in placing African American children differed significantly from parents who adopted through public agencies. A California study that compared characteristics of 83 private adopters with data on public agency adopters found that African American parents adopting through private agencies were younger, had more education, had higher incomes, adopted younger children, and adopted fewer children than African American families adopting through public agencies. Data on foster parent adopters and kinship adopters were not included.

Researchers also found that 70 percent of the private adopters had unsuccessfully attempted to adopt through public agencies before applying to the private agencies. These families were either turned down by the public agencies, or they dropped out, sometimes because of discomfort with the process.

The study's authors discuss the role of private African American adoption agencies in recruiting adoptive families, especially those who might not adopt through public agencies. These agencies may be better equipped to guide African American parents through the adoption process.

"The Role of Private Adoption Agencies in Facilitating African American Adoptions," by T. C. Smith-McKeever and R. G. McRoy, was published in Families in Society, Volume 86(4):