LANSING, Mich. — The practice of “rehoming” children would be prohibited under legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones and on its way to the governor’s desk.
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. They cannot be sold in a simple transaction,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Selling children through this practice of rehoming has to stop.”
Senate Bill 924 and House Bills 5626, 5628 and 5629 would 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.
“People are finding ways to make a profit by rehoming children, and we need to send the message that Michigan children are not for sale,” said Jones. “These children are being abandoned to people who could be pedophiles, abusers or sexual offenders.”
Several years ago, there was a case in Arkansas where a state representative rehomed his adopted daughters to the family of a man he fired from the daycare that he and his wife owned. The man the children were given to was later found guilty of raping the six-year-old girl and is now in prison.
“Rehoming has the potential of being devastating to children who could end up being in homes of people who will hurt them,” Jones said. “We have to protect our children, and I look forward to seeing the governor sign this legislative package to help keep children safe.”
Under current state law, parents can temporarily transfer power of attorney of their children to another adult. This process could be used to make rehoming a possibility. The bills would prohibit a parent from knowingly and intentionally delegating their powers regarding the care and custody of their child for more than 180 days.