Columbus- Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) has introduced SB 311. The legislation jointly sponsored by Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), bans the re-homing of adopted children in Ohio.  Re-homing is also referred to as “disrupted or non-legalized adoption” and is the act of the transferring of a child from their legal adoptive parents to unauthorized individuals. These transfers usually take place over the internet on sites with message boards like Yahoo and Craigslist and require minimal direct contact between the current and prospective parents.

“Children are not property or used furniture to be advertised to anybody on social media sites without the background checks and protections for their welfare,” stated Assistant Democratic Leader, Senator Charleta B. Tavares.  

Senate Bill 311 requires a parent who wishes to delegate their powers temporarily must file a petition with the juvenile court requesting the court’s approval of the power of attorney. The petition must include various formalities, as well as, facts and circumstances showing that the delegation would be in the best interests of the child and that the person nominated is fit, willing and able to exercise parental powers. Also, the court is required to hold a hearing on a delegation petition. In determining the appropriate course of action, the court must consider the best interests of the child and must also consider if the person nominated would be fit, willing and able to exercise the parental powers. The bill also requests that a Joint Legislative body convene a study group to study adoption disruption and dissolution in Ohio.

Senate Bill 311 creates two crimes:

1. Any individual who delegates his/her parental powers via a power of attorney for longer than one year without first obtaining the approval of the juvenile court is guilty of a class A misdemeanor (fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed nine months, or both).

2. Any individual who sends a child out of Ohio or brings a child into Ohio for the purposes of permanently transferring physical custody of the child is guilty of a class A misdemeanor (fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed nine months, or both).

 “Adoption is intended to be permanent- not a process where if a child is not perfect you can return them like an article of clothing,” added Tavares. “Furthermore, there are no courts, social services, or adoption agencies to provide oversight for the child or the families involved, leaving adopted children vulnerable to pedophiles and human traffickers to gain control over them.”

Under current federal law, the act of re-homing a child is legal unless the child is taken across state lines. Last fall, Reuters Investigates aired a five-part series entitled “The Child Exchange” that highlighted the frequency of non-legalized adoption; a new child is advertised on online message boards each week. 

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