Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) of 1994

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P.L. 103-382, Title V, Part E

For a summary of the Act visit:|TOM:/bss/d103query.html|

For an Index of online resources visit:

Reasons Bill Initiated

  • A growing number of children in foster care were waiting for adoptive homes for excessive periods of time.
  • Minority children were over-represented in out-of-home care.


  • To decrease the time children wait to be adopted.
  • To prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color and/or national origin when making foster care and adoptive placements.
  • To facilitate identification and recruitment of foster and adoptive families that can meet children's needs.

Services Provided/Measures Taken

  • Prohibited State agencies and other entities that receive Federal funding and were involved in foster care or adoption placements from delaying, denying or otherwise discriminating when making a foster care or adoption placement decision on the basis of the parent or child's race, color or national origin.
  • Prohibited State agencies and other entities that received Federal funds and were involved in foster care or adoption placements from categorically denying any person the opportunity become a foster or adoptive parent solely on the basis of race, color or national origin of the parent or the child.
  • Required States to develop plans for recruitment of foster and adoptive families that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children in the State for whom families are needed.
  • Allowed an agency or entity to consider the cultural, ethnic, or racial background of a child and the capacity of an adoptive or foster parent to meet the needs of a child with that background when making a placement.
  • Had no effect on the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
  • Made failure to comply with MEPA a violation of title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Credits: National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information

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