The Health & Human Services Department Children’s Bureau releases new guidance to help state agencies prevent an abusive practice that occurs when parents seek a quick separation from their adoptive children after they become overwhelmed by their needs.
These disrupted adoptions, or re-homing, happens when adoptive parents place their adopted children in a new home without the benefit of safety and criminal background checks or a home study to determine the appropriateness of the placement. Usually the adoption happens via the Internet, outside the purview of juvenile/family courts and child welfare agencies meant to look out for the children.
In many cases, states determine the laws relative to child abuse and neglect, guardianships and power of attorney, and adoption. With this guidance, HHS lends federal support to empower each state to make sure its laws address this practice appropriately and to ensure children and families affected by re-homing receive proper support.
In a series of instances cited in the guidance, parents turned to online forums to advertise and facilitate the placement of their children. The guidance notes that parents have a legal responsibility to protect and care for their children and such re-homing could constitute child abuse and subject the parents to criminal penalties, the guidance says.