African American Families and Foster Care

African American Families and Foster Care: Finding and Supporting All
Presented by Dr. Ruth McRoy and Bishop WC Martin
African American children represent about 15.1 percent of the U. S. child population, yet they represent 26% (26,117) of the 101,719 children waiting to be adopted (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). It is essential to find effective strategies to recruit and retain prospective adoptive families for these children.  This keynote will present an overview of barriers to permanency for African American children and will provide effective child specific and general recruitment and retention strategies.

Dr. Ruth McRoy
In September 2009, Ruth G. McRoy became the first holder of the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professorship at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work.  Prior to joining the Boston College faculty, McRoy was a member of the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work faculty for 25 years and held the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professorship.  She received her BA and MSW degrees from the University of Kansas and her PhD degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

As part of the federally funded AdoptUSKids project, which is operated through a cooperative agreement with the Children’s Bureau, McRoy and her research team at the  University of Texas at Austin, recently completed two nationwide studies (2002-2007) on barriers to adoption and factors associated with successful special needs adoptions. Currently, she is leading an evaluation team which is conducting a five year (2007-2012) evaluation of  AdoptUSKids.

She serves on the board of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) and on the Board of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of  Boston. Also, McRoy just completed her term as Board  Member and President of the  North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) Board and is a Senior Research Fellow and  member of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Board.

Her recent honors include the following:   2004 Flynn Prize for Social Work Research from the University of Southern California, the 2005 George Silcott Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Administrators in Child Welfare, the 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research and the 2006-2007 University of Texas at Austin Graduate School’s Outstanding Alumna Award.  In 2010 she was selected as a fellow in the   American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and also was named the recipient of the St. John’s 2010 Outstanding Scholar in Adoption Award.

McRoy has authored, co-authored or co-edited over 100 journal articles and book chapters and ten books, including: Transracial and Inracial Adoptees: The Adolescent Years (with L. Zurcher), Special Needs Adoptions: Practice IssuesOpenness in Adoption: Family Connections (with H. Grotevant), Challenging Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare (with Deborah Green, Kathleen Belanger, and Lloyd Bullard)  and Intersecting Child Welfare, Substance Abuse and Family Violence:  Culturally Competent Approaches (with R. Fong, and C. Ortiz-Hendricks).

Bishop WC Martin
For more than 20 years Bishop Martin has served the community of Possum Trot, Tx., as pastor of Bennett Chapel.  In 1997, he and his wife, Donna, adopted 2 children and began a miraculous adventure that has become one of the premier adoption stories in America.  Over 70 kids have been adopted out of the Texas foster care system and into families in his community.  Bishop Martin and his wife have appeared on such programs as Oprah, Dateline NBC, and Good Morning America.

People Magazine Article
Fox News Article
In Touch Ministries Interview with Bishop Martin


Thank you to our sponsors! 

BC Graduate School of Social Work

Dave Thomas Foundation

UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst College of Education

UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences

Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts

One Simple Wish

One Simple Wish offering scholarships for 50 youth to attend the Rudd-REFCA conference.  If you are a young person that has experienced foster care and you would like to learn more about how One Simple Wish can help, please at or read this FAQ.

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