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First cohort of new minority leadership program graduates!

15 members of the first cohort of the AdoptUSKids Minority Professional Development Leadership program

The 2019 MPLD fellows hailed from 14 states and represented both the public and private sectors.

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.

Jerry Millner, Associate Commissioner at the Children’s Bureau

Jerry Millner, Associate Commissioner at the Children’s Bureau, and other dignitaries celebrated the future leaders’ achievements.

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.

Learn more and sign up to be notified when we publish news about the MPLD program—including application announcements for upcoming cohorts.