How Anti-White Racism in Family Courts Hurts Black Children


Ugandan-born Peter Mutabazi made national news recently because he adopted three white children in Charlotte, North Carolina, who needed a home. The press treated Mutabazi like a hero. It’s an unconventional family, this black father admitted, but it works. His explanation? “Love transcends racial differences.” 

In family courts across the nation, however, love does not transcend skin color if the adoptive parents are white. The door only swings one way. So-called anti-racism, which manifests as anti-white racism, has invaded child welfare to a startling degree. Unlike policing, university hires, or medical training, what happens in family courts is usually a quiet affair, far removed from the public eye. That makes foster care children the perfect tabula rasa for the left’s experiment in social engineering where skin color is the dominant and deciding factor.

Racist woke ideology in family courts is a huge red flag. For over 30 years, the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) has made it illegal to place vulnerable children in homes on the basis of race, but those laws are now often flouted by activist judges and social workers, causing children to get caught in the revolving door of foster care as courts search for a match by tribe or skin color. As a result, a little girl or boy’s hopes for adoption into a lasting family fade away, one broken attachment after another.

‘Anti-Racism’ Penalizes the Kids It Claims To Help

The story often plays out like this one in North Carolina. True was born to a mother with a history of maltreatment. Since she was unable to care for her son, True was placed with a veteran foster family. For two and a half years, he was immersed in a web of love and care, not unlike the one Mutabazi provided for three white children in his home. True learned to walk and talk in a family that treated him as they would a son.

After years of failed reunification efforts, the Department of Child Services asked True’s caregivers if they would adopt him. They readily agreed. But True was a black boy. The court postponed hearing after hearing, stalling for time. His biological mother did not see him for 13 months, well past the state requirements for child abandonment. Yet the courts continued to push for visits with her, even though she had not followed the case plan. 

Finally, when adoption by the white family who had cared for True seemed like the only possible option, True was removed overnight and placed with a single woman he had never met. But the skin color matched. True remains a ward of the North Carolina foster care system, a bewildered 4-year-old boy who must now wonder why he never gets to unpack his suitcase for the last time.

Much like the move to defund the police, critical theorists have used charges of systemic racism to tear down child welfare efforts. Rather than attacking child abuse, groups like upEND and the Office of Respondent Parent’s Counsel (ORPC) want to abolish foster care and adoption itself.

“We strive for abolition because we understand that the biggest threats to child safety and well-being are ingrained anti-Blackness in our policies and practices … continuing genocide produced by colonialism … and White supremacist norms of good parenting, family and safety,” so states the upEND movement begun at the University of Houston. Even attachment theory, which emphasizes the importance of a child’s emotional bond with his primary caregivers, is derided as a “white invention,” which insults the intelligence of any parent who has raised a child. “Anti-racism” holds a child hostage to his native community at the expense of his own need for a stable, lasting family.

Perhaps the most pernicious influence of anti-racism on child welfare is that it provides a denial-based, easy out from finding real solutions that protect children. Are black children likely to be investigated and removed from their homes more often than white kids? Racism must be the cause. Any disparity in outcomes is, ergo, the result of “racial bias.”

The facts tell a far more complex story. In contrast to white or Hispanic children, black children are twice as likely to suffer maltreatment and three times more likely to die from abuse. In 2022, nearly 2,000 children died from abuse or neglect. In most cases, children die at the hands of a parent or that parent’s paramour. Neither poverty nor skin color is the culprit but, most often, the toxic combination of mental illness and substance abuse. Yet Minnesota is expected to pass legislation with national influence this month that will raise the bar even higher to investigate or remove a black child from an unsafe home.

For family services to appear less “racist,” there is ample evidence that abuse is simply being investigated and substantiated less often. That way family preservation efforts appear successful and disparate numbers can be evened out. Meanwhile, real children suffer from the effects of anti-racism.

Putting the Child’s Needs First

Efforts to counter this trend have been quietly gathering steam around the country. Leading the way is Arizona’s Center for the Rights of Abused Children. Their advocacy has helped 10 states establish laws that require a “client-centered advocate” in court on behalf of the child’s best interests. Many states are also moving to grant caregivers a larger voice in advocating for a foster child in their home.

Churches and faith communities are putting their shoulders to the wheel. Caring for orphans is central to Christian teaching. To talk of 400,000 children needing care (enough to fill the Atlanta Braves stadium eight times) is overwhelming. But providing homes for 400 vulnerable children in one metroplex such as Raleigh or Houston is far more achievable. Nonprofits and churches are collaborating to support fragile parents so fewer children enter an overburdened system and to encourage families to foster children until they can return home, if possible, or be adopted.

Caring for vulnerable children in the wake of an opioid epidemic is challenging enough. The task is made even harder when anti-white racism corrupts family courts. Every child deserves to grow up in a family he can count on. Sacrificing a child’s need for safety and a stable family to match skin color or tribe means more children will suffer. Peter Mutabazi had it right: Love does indeed transcend racial differences.

Paula Rinehart
Paula Rinehart
Paula Rinehart, LCSW, is a therapist in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the author of the book Sex and the Soul of a Woman. She writes about family and culture.

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