New legislation prohibits unregulated custody transfers of adopted children

Bill package helps ensure the safety of adopted kids

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Legislators have introduced a multi-bill package to prohibit and punish the practice of informal child custody transfers.

“In some cases, parents are using online forums to offer adopted children to strangers, which results in children being ‘rehomed’ into potentially abusive and unsafe environments,” said Rep. McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills. “Parents should not be allowed to permanently place a child under the care of another person without any oversight.”

House Bill 5629, sponsored by McCready, would prohibit a parent from transferring custody of a child for more than 180 days. Current law allows a temporary custody transfer to take place, using a power of attorney, if it does not exceed 180 days.

HB 5628, sponsored by Rep. Hank Vaupel, would criminalizes the transfer of custody with the intent to permanently divest oneself of parental responsibility and prohibit assisting or arranging an unregulated custody transfer.

“This is about what’s best for children’s safety, plain and simple,” said Vaupel, R-Fowlerville. “Every child in Michigan deserves to be raised in a safe and secure home environment. These bills prevent an unregulated custody practice that can put children in danger.”

HB 5626, sponsored by Rep. Tom Hooker, would prohibit a person from advertising for potential adoptive parents without court involvement. HB 5627 would classify soliciting a child for adoption as a Class F felony.

“Children are our most precious treasure, requiring love and nurturing,” said Hooker, R-Byron Center. “Any person who tries to market children as a commodity deserves to be stopped and punished.”

Sen. Rick Jones has introduced similar legislation, Senate Bills 923-926.

“We have a responsibility to all Michigan children to protect their safety,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “We don’t want to see people advertising children on the Internet. Children are not for sale. Plus, we never know who will respond; they could be a child abuser or a child molester. Ensuring proper precautions are taken is the best way to protect these children.”

SBs 923-926 have been referred to the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services for consideration, and HBs 5626-5629 have been sent to the House Judiciary Committee.