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DeVoe Law Firm Trials & Transactions
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Careful with “Re-Homing” Kids – Might be Trafficking

When it comes to pets, the concept of “re-homing” is fairly commonplace. Sometimes an individual will move in with a spouse that has a severe allergy, or will move to a new apartment that has strict pet regulations, or will have a new baby that a pet does not get along with. Finding a caring new home for a pet can be a great way to please everyone.

The regulations around finding new homes for children are much more complex, and for valid reason. The legal way for a child to find a loving new family is usually called adoption, but it is not the only way that people can find their child a new family.

Most often happening to adopted foreign children, so-called “re-homing” often involves underground organizations, no laws, no consultations, no interviews, and no oversight by any qualified child care individuals. It is taking an adopted child that did not mesh well with a host family, and slipping them to a new host family.

When a couple adopts a child, there are a lot of legal technicalities that need to be met. The child must be in good health both physically and mentally, the parents must go through extensive interviews and tests, and every checkbox that can be checked is checked.

Even still, sometimes it is not a good fit.

When that happens, putting a child back up through the adoption system is extremely difficult. Therefore, couples will sometimes obtain a power of attorney to allow them to simply pass the children off to a new couple. The new couple cannot call themselves parents, and are merely guardians. This allows parents of adopted children to basically sidestep all the legality related to moving children through the system, as well as all the wellness checks in systems such as child welfare agencies.

While illegal in Florida, re-homing is still legal in quite a few states (although the list is shrinking), so individuals must be extremely careful about any adoption that crosses state borders. Just recently, a judge in New York took a broad step against re-homing by putting a pre-emptive ban on a couple that is seeking a new home for their children. The couple claims they were grossly lied to about the mental state of the foreign children they adopted, and are seeking all their options.

Re-homing is currently a felony in Florida, and legislation was proposed last year to make it a felony to even advertise a child for adoption.


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