[TW: ABUSE, CSA]
U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday that the federal government may have to take a stronger role to stop parents from transferring custody of their adopted children to strangers they meet on the Internet.
At a subcommittee hearing in the U.S. Senate, lawmakers took their first look at the practice known as “private re-homing,” which bypasses the government’s child welfare system to leave boys and girls in the custody of strangers, often with little more than a notarized power of attorney.
The hearing came in response to a Reuters investigation that found online forums where desperate parents solicited new families for children they no longer wanted. Testimony shed light on the potential need for federal action to strengthen protections for children and support state efforts to help parents with post-adoption challenges.
"(It) certainly makes sense to the extent that re-homing is happening over the Internet, that it’s crossing state borders, that that necessitates – even requires – a federal response," said Sen. Christopher Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat.
Joo Yeun Chang, the Obama administration official’s top official for foster care and adoption assistance programs, said the federal government needs to provide guidance for states on what she described as a new issue. But she called for an approach that would protect all children rather than risk singling out adoptive families.
"There’s a lot of confusion about what legal custody of power of attorney documents even mean, what kind of responsibility that confers and what responsibilities parents have to maintain," she said during testimony.
"State laws need to be clear about what the parent’s responsibility is even if they do transfer legal custody."
No state or federal laws specifically prohibit re-homing. State laws that restrict the advertising and custody transfers of children rarely prescribe criminal sanctions and are frequently ignored.
After the news agency published its findings in September, at least four states passed new restrictions on advertising children, transferring custody, or both. Lawmakers in those states noted that the absence of government safeguards can result in children ending up in the hands of abusers.
Some child advocates say that congressional action is needed to limit re-homing by placing uniform restrictions on the advertising of children and requiring all custody transfers to non-relatives to be approved by a court.
But others say the need to seek court approval could be prohibitive for many families, in cases where custody of children is taken on by grandmothers or trusted family friends.
In a report issued last year, the Congressional Research Service said the interstate aspect of re-homing and the role of the Internet in facilitating the practice gave Congress opportunities to act. “Although there appears to be no federal criminal law implicated by the general process of ‘re-homing,’ this does not preclude Congress from enacting laws to protect children that may be harmed by this practice,” the report said. The Government Accountability Office will begin studying state and federal policies related to re-homing this summer.
No government agencies track re-homing, but Reuters identified eight Internet groups in which members discussed, facilitated or engaged in the practice. In a single Yahoo group, a child was offered to strangers on average once a week during a five-year period. At least 70 percent of those children were listed as having been adopted from overseas; many were described as suffering emotional or behavioral problems. Yahoo has taken down the group.
Some re-homed children endured severe abuse, and the adults who used the online network to obtain children were not properly vetted, Reuters found. In one case, a man now serving prison time for child pornography took home a 10-year-old boy whom he and a friend found online hours earlier. They picked up the boy in a hotel parking lot.
At the request of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., officials from the federal departments of State, Justice, Health and Human Services and Homeland security have been discussing ways to address re-homing. In May, Health and Human Services officials warned states about the dangers of the practice and encouraged them to use existing federal funding to support struggling adoptive families.
Also, I’m leaving in less than a month and anxiety is starting to set in and I’m pretty sure I’m on the brink of some sort of panic attack.
And tbh, I just want to sit under a tree, smoke, talk, laugh, and cry about anything and everything.
as simple to say “Israel are 100% in the right and will always be in the right”, otherwise the world would have taken action long, long ago. Please don’t lie to us or yourself. Please answer this and if you actually say something thats unbiased then ill be on your side.
“Just out of principal.”
You don’t know what you’re talking about.
As a Palestinian, living currently under ISRAELI OCCUPATION, having lost friends and literally my entire childhood to Israel, you’re asking me why I then hate people who directly support my oppressors? Do you think everyone has your privilege of being far and detached and unaffected?
"The Palestinians are being oppressed by the Israelis, murdering children and stealing their land" is EXACTLY what is happening. Do you understand power dynamics and structures?
I’ll make things really simple for you: When the Palestinians do anything, it is in response to a brutal occupation and the ethnic cleansing we’ve been facing for the better part of a century now.
When the Israelis do something, it’s to uphold their military occupation. It’s to uphold the status quo and their ethnic supremacy at our expense.
There are worlds of difference between these two, and don’t you ever dare equate them.
It is not complicated in the slightest. It’ actually very simple, and the mystification of the “current situation” has been an Israeli tactic since day one. If you go back in history, a 5 year old could tell you that a bunch of fresh colonists establishing an ethnocracy at the expense of the indigenous population is point-blank wrong, by any standard.
You’re incredibly naïve if you think the world would ever take action based on “justice” and not interests. Is that really your standard for morality? Did the world take immediate action with regards to Apartheid South Africa? Algeria? No it took ages for them to move a finger, and it was the efforts of the indigenous population that resulted in victory, not a complacent, apathetic world.
Your problem is, that you seem to think that you’re so much more sophisticated and enlightened in taking this detached non-stance. Such positions only reinforce the status quo and the narrative of the side with all the power. I don’t need or want your condescending “support” on our side. We have history on our side, we have the solidarity of all decolonizing and marginalized peoples on our side, and the truth.
And a few dozen years down the line, when Israel is just a bad memory, remember this conversation. Remember that you stood and squabbled on the sidelines, like all “objective” middle grounders.
Just like the middle grounders on ending child labor, the middle grounders on women’s suffrage, and the middle grounders on the civil rights movement.
asked by Anonymous