During the last week of August, when many people were getting ready for a relaxing Labor Day weekend, the 15 members of the first cohort of the AdoptUSKids Minority Professional Leadership Development program (MPLD) gathered in Washington, DC, for three-days of information sharing and celebration. The event was the culmination of the eight-month program, which promotes professional leadership development of minorities in the adoption field.
“Through MPLD, we’re working to ensure that people who are making decisions in child welfare are representative of the population they are serving and have an understanding of the culture of the children and families,” said Bob Herne, AdoptUSKids Project Director.
From January through August, the 15 fellows—promising leaders committed to pursuing systemic change and motivated to become transformational leaders—learned from experts, worked with mentors, and benefited from group and individual coaching. Each fellow completed an action research project in their organization that addressed an issue related to adoption or guardianship. The fellows presented the results of their projects at the graduation event.
“The amount of growth and learning we saw in the fellows over the course of the program was palpable,” said Arleen Rodriguez-Jacoby, MPLD Program Manager. “They returned to their organizations with new insights that they’ll use to improve those systems.”
Examples of the topics that fellows addressed included:
- Improving outcomes for African American children in foster care through training in cultural competence
- Partnering with faith-based communities of color to recruit and engage foster and adoptive families
- Providing more effective trauma and attachment training for professionals and caregivers to increase their trauma competence
We’ll be sharing the results of the action research projects and interviews with the fellows about their experiences with the leadership program in future articles.
Sign up to be notified when we are accepting MPLD applications and receive other information for professionals from AdoptUSKids, or email us with questions: email@example.com.