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Minority Professional Leadership Development Program

15 members of the first cohort of the AdoptUSKids Minority Professional Leadership Development program
~“It’s kind of amazing, because even though I’d been doing this work for more than two decades, I still came away with new information and approaches.”
~“I have a new family. I have colleagues across the country who have the same background as me—personally and professionally—who I can learn from and share ideas with.”
~“I’ve gained confidence. I’ve developed a strong voice. I’ve gained the ability to express my ideas and make suggestions that can create change.”

The Minority Professional Leadership Development (MPLD) program is a 12-month program designed for emerging minority leaders working in the child welfare field. The structured program includes hands-on experience, exposure to national experts, and mentorship opportunities.

Each year, emerging leaders are selected through a competitive process. The program is now in its seventh year. There is no fee to participate.

Program components

  • A kick-off celebration and meeting in Washington, DC, that includes three days of intensive skill-building and networking.
  • Action research projects that fellows design and implement in their place of work to address issues related to adoption, guardianship, or kinship. Fellows will receive expert, individualized guidance to help them complete their projects.
  • Online structured courses in policy, practice, research, and transformational leadership.
  • Mentoring from leaders within the fellow’s agency and from program alumni.
  • Group and individual coaching that supplements the material being taught in the online courses.
  • A graduation ceremony in Washington, DC, where fellows present their action research projects. View past presentations on the MPLD YouTube channel!
  • An alumni network that provides long-term career support, resource-sharing, and leadership opportunities with future cohorts.

Who should apply

MPLD is open to people from cultural, ethnic, and racial groups who have historically had a disproportionate number of children in care. The program requires that you have five or more years of experience working in the US child welfare field, as the fellowship is designed for emerging leaders. Candidates should also have a minimum of an undergraduate degree.

Learn about the program criteria and how to apply.

Time commitment

The number of hours that fellows devote to the program will vary by person and by the action research project they select. But in general, we anticipate that fellows will devote an average of 24 hours to the program each month.

There will likely be a greater time commitment during the first and final months of the fellowship due to the kick-off and closing events in Washington, DC.

Why develop minority leaders?

Children of color—especially Black and American Indian children—continue to be overrepresented in foster care. In some regions of the country, Hispanic and Latino children are also overrepresented.

While the presence of ethnically, culturally, and racially diverse individuals in leadership roles does not ensure that children who share these characteristics will be adopted, it may help communities of color trust a child welfare system.

Leaders who are culturally competent, prepared to be transformational, and mirror the diverse representation of the child welfare population may help agencies respond to the needs of diverse communities while identifying barriers faced by minority families and strategies to overcome them.

Learn more about the program and hear from a program leader and participants in this short video.

Learn more!

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