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Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption is a U.S. federal legislation that was enacted in 1996 to amend the Multiethnic Adoption Act of 1994 (MEPA). The 1996 interethnic provisions were enacted as title I, subtitle H, section 1808, Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption, of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996. The amendments were passed because Congress believed that the original intent of MEPA was not being followed and that changes were necessary to remove any ambiguity about whether race, color or national origin could be considered in making placement decisions for children.
The Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption provisions replaced most of the MEPA’s original language with the exception of two provisions relating to recruitment efforts for foster care and adoptive homes and the effects of a states failure to carry out their plan for a federal program under the Social Security Act.
The Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption amendments provides new guidelines for foster care and adoptive placements. However, these new guidelines do not apply to placements made for eligible Indian children under the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Some important provisions of the amendment are:
Created the Title IV-E State Plan requirement that States and other entities that receive funds from the Federal Government and are involved in foster care or adoption placements may not deny any individual the opportunity to become a foster or adoptive parent based upon the race, color, or national origin of the parent or the child.
Created the title IV-E State Plan requirement that States and other entities that receive funds from the Federal Government and involved in foster care or adoption placements may not delay or deny a child's foster care or adoptive placement based upon the race, color, or national origin of the parent or the child
Created a system of graduated financial penalties for States that do not comply with the title IV-E State Plan requirement established under this law
Repealed language in MEPA that allowed States and other entities to consider the cultural, ethnic, or racial background of a child, as well as the capacity of the prospective parent to meet the needs of such a child
Strengthened MEPA's diligent recruitment requirement by making it a title IV-B State Plan requirement