A bill introduced in the California Senate seeks to outlaw the practice of moving adopted children from one adoptive family to another without legal oversight. This is commonly known as “re-homing” and has been linked to instances of abuse of adopted children. California Senate Bill 1040 also “amends the state’s family and penal codes to provide pre- and post-adoption services to families, and to make what is called an “unregulated custody transfer” a criminal offense punishable with up to one year of prison and/or a fine of $1,000.” Advertising children for an “unregulated custody transfer” would also be criminalized and the bill requires that the Department of Social Services create a group that would address the lack of services available to California’s families who have adopted internationally.
The author of Bill 1040 is Jerry Hill (D–San Mateo) who said he introduced the legislation “to help curb this harmful practice and make sure there are services available to these families so re-homing isn’t what these families think of doing to their children.” California’s action is a response to the national scrutiny on the issues of re-homing that came to light, in part because of a 2013 Reuters investigation exposing the practice and the many pitfalls and abuses that adopted children were experiencing because of loopholes in the child welfare systems across the country.
The bill, if passed would add California to the list of states like Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maine and Wisconsin, who are changing legislation and closing those loopholes. Several other states are currently considering similar amendments and policy changes.