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Federal Multiethnic Placement Act and Interethnic Adoption Provisions (MEPA-IEP)

The Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) of 1994 and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions (IEP) of 1996 are federal laws that govern how foster and adoption placement decisions involving race, color or national origin (RCNO) are considered. They were implemented to remove barriers to permanency for the vast number of children in the child welfare system. The purposes of MEPA-IEP are to:

  • Reduce the length of time that children wait to be adopted
  • Facilitate the diligent recruitment and retention of foster and adoptive families 
  • Eliminate discrimination on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of either the prospective parent or the child

Foster care or adoption placement agencies receiving Title IV-B or Title IV-E funds shall:

  • Not deny any individual the opportunity to become a foster or adoptive parent based upon the RCNO of the parent or the child 
  • Not delay or deny a child’s foster care or adoptive placement based on the RCNO of the parent or child 
  • Consider diligent recruitment of potential foster and adoptive families that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children for whom foster and adoptive homes are needed
  • Recruit foster and adoptive parents of all RCNO backgrounds

Failure to comply with MEPA is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Concurrent Planning Policy Unit 
Child & Youth Permanency Branch
California Department of Social Services
744 P Street, MS 8-13-66
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-7464