Nov 3, 2022 - News

Adoption agency fights to continue finding Black children homes

Illustration of a child's block with a dollar sign on it.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A local adoption agency that has placed Black foster children in permanent homes for 57 years is facing the threat of closure.

Driving the news: Leadership at Homes for Black Children (HBC) didn't know whether the agency would be able to provide services last week after receiving an informal notice it was at risk of getting its license revoked by the state.

  • MDHHS tells Axios it is working with HBC to help it meet state compliance standards.
  • The state says that Homes for Black Children, a private agency, has at times been unable to pay foster parents promptly, which affects the ability for the children placed in its care to receive adequate service.

Why it matters: The financial issues facing HBC underscore the funding shortfalls faced by many small agencies that rely on state funding, Janet Reynolds Snyder of the Michigan Federation for Children, which represents private adoption agencies, told the Detroit News.

  • HBC president Jacquelynn Moffett tells Axios that the agency, which once connected as many as 150 children in a year, has decreased its capacity to serve about 50 children annually.

The intrigue: It's a personal fight for Moffett, who says she's gone into thousands of dollars of personal debt in order to keep the agency open.

  • Employees did not always receive paychecks on time during the pandemic, while staff members have been donating to the agency to keep it running, Moffett says.

What they're saying: "Most of our families are from the city of Detroit, which is not true for many of the agencies that don't even want to come into the city to actually recruit families," Moffett tells Axios.

  • Moffett says that large organizations such as United Way, which used to play a bigger role in funding smaller agencies, have mostly left them behind for larger adoption centers.

What's next: "Now, we're just looking at how we can garner support, what we can do to go on for another 57 years," Moffett says.

  • If its license is eventually revoked, MDHHS tells Axios it will work to ensure children’s cases are transferred to another agency that can meet their needs.

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