LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to prohibit the practice of “rehoming” children in Michigan.
Rehoming is the transferring of a child to another family on a permanent basis without the approval of the courts, oftentimes without a review or background check of the new family. The practice could be done with one’s own biological child or after a legal adoption has been finalized. Essentially, rehoming is the giving away of one’s child for the purpose of monetary gain.
“Children are not commodities to be bought and sold online like a used book,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “With the governor’s action, Michigan is taking a stand against the dangerous practice of rehoming. The message being sent is clear: Michigan children are not for sale.”
Public Acts 481-484 of 2016 prohibit parents from transferring legal or physical custody of a child with the intent to permanently strip themselves of parental responsibility. If an unauthorized person is found to advertise for, solicit or recruit a child for adoption, they could be found guilty of a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
In 2013, an Arkansas state representative rehomed two adopted daughters to the family of a former employee, who was later convicted of raping the six-year-old daughter.
“Making a profit by rehoming children has no place in our state,” Jones said. “Rehoming has the potential of being devastating to children who are being abandoned to people who could be pedophiles, abusers or sexual offenders. These new laws will help protect children in Michigan and keep them safe.”
Before the new laws, parents could temporarily transfer power of attorney of their children to another adult — making rehoming a possibility. Parents are now prohibited from knowingly and intentionally delegating their powers regarding the care and custody of their child for more than 180 days.