Ujima Black Family Program, a new project at the National Adoption Association focused on racial equity in adoption, has been awarded half a million dollars from the Walmart Foundation.
The program brings together dozens of Black child welfare leaders to collaborate with racial equity experts to design solutions for keeping Black families together and improving systems’ ability to care for and nurture Black youth experiencing foster care.
The Ujima Black Family Program is part of the National Adoption Association’s effort to address long-standing disparities in child welfare and push back against the stereotype that “Black families do not adopt,” the organization stated in a press release. They aim to improve outreach to Black families and decrease the number of Black youth who age out of the system.
The National Adoption Association is a 40-year-old nonprofit that provides continuing education and credentialing to hundreds of child welfare professionals across the country and operates the AdoptUSKids adoption program on behalf of the federal Children’s Bureau. Its racial equity programs “transform systems to address the root causes that create barriers to family connections” for youth who are overrepresented in child welfare.
“For decades we have not been able to move the needle on this vexing issue due to the deeply embedded institutional racism that exists in all our systems,” Kamilah Bunn, Chief Executive Officer of the National Adoption Association, stated in a press release. “The leaders who join us on this journey will be equipped with access to experts in racial equity, implementation science and a peer network to confidently make the necessary changes within their systems to maintain Black family connections and prevent our children from experiencing these poor outcomes.”
Well-known researcher Jessica Pryce, assistant professor at Florida State University, has long focused on racial equity in the child welfare sphere and will evaluate the Ujima program.
The grant came from the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity, which was founded in 2020 through a $100 million commitment to address systemic racism that drives Black people to be disproportionately impacted by the justice system.
“The Ujima Family Program will help build networks and deepen practices that support foster youth, a group that too frequently ends up in the justice system,” Dr. Marvin Carr, director of the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity, stated in a press release.