CCAI Response to Reuters “Re-homing” Series: An Opportunity for Reflection and Reform
On September 9, 2013 Reuters and NBC published a five-part article The Child Exchange to bring attention to a practice since coined “re-homing”—when adoptive parents who have experienced challenges post adoption resort to privately placing their legally adopted children in the custody of another adult or family. It is the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) hope that both the experiences and actions of the adoptive parents highlighted in Reuters’ series will not only help bring greater public attention to existing gaps in current federal and state law, but also help to create the necessary political will to see to it that such gaps closed. For the past decade, CCAI has sought to help federal policymakers better understand how they might increasingly protect children from abuse and neglect of any kind. When it comes to the safety and well-being of all children, there is no room for error. At the same time, CCAI has sought to educate federal policymakers on how federal laws and programs might better serve and protect adopted children and their families. We feel very strongly that both are necessary here.
Over the past several weeks, CCAI has not only supported federal policymakers in their efforts to address the policy questions raised by the practice of re-homing but have also produced a short policy brief in an effort to ensure that such efforts continue to be conducted in a thoughtful, evidence-based manner.
In addition to providing a review of existing laws and policies on adoption, the brief suggests that federal policymakers might also:
- Review existing federal laws and regulations to ensure that prospective adoptive parents are both well informed and properly trained before an adoption is finalized.
- Provide federal financial support so that child-specific, quality and affordable support services can be provided to more families post-adoption.
- Consider the ways in which the federal government might use the Internet to provide more information and better support to prospective and current adoptive families.
- Strengthen enforcement of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, as well as child abuse, abandonment and adoption laws to ensure that the interests of children are protected.
No matter what changes in law occur as a result of this important national conversation, we hope we never lose sight of the most important fact of all: that there are millions of children in the world who are living without the safety, support and protection that only a family can provide. Every action taken, on this issue or any other areas of related concern, should be structured to protect children’s basic human right to a family and not restrict or inhibit it.
Finally, we want to recognize the outstanding work and continued commitment of the Members of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, many of whom are leading the way on this and other issues. Please see the last page of the report for a list of already filed legislation on issues related to rehoming. We expect that there will be other efforts over the coming months and will be sure to keep everyone abreast of this progress.
To access the full report, click this link: Response to Reuters Re-homing Article: An Opportunity for Reflection and Reform, November 2013