[JURIST] Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal [official website] signed into law [press release] a bill [legislative materials] prohibiting the practice of privately transferring custody of unwanted adopted children to unrelated individuals. This practice, called re-homing or non-legalized adoption, has come under scrutiny recently following a report [Reuters backgrounder] documenting the abuses that tend to follow from such exchanges. Because of the lack of regulation in this area, the private transfer of custody of an adopted child requires little more than a notarized paper authorizing the re-homing. The newly-enacted bill [SB 586, PDF] prohibits parents from divesting themselves of permanent parental responsibility by placing the child in the physical custody of a non-relative without court approval. Re-homing is now a criminal offense in Louisiana that carries a penalty of USD $5,000 and up to five years imprisonment.
Currently, there are no federal laws prohibiting the practice of “re-homing” unwanted adopted children. However, a handful of states have begun to devise legislation to address the practice. In April, Wisconsin became the first state in the US to limit re-homing [Reuters report] when Governor Scott Walker [official website] signed Assembly Bill 581 [text] into law. In March Ohio’s state Senate introduced a bill [text] to regulate the practice, which has been assigned to committee and awaits further action. Other states working on legislation regarding re-homing include Florida [Sun Sentinel report] and Colorado [Examiner report].