Adoptive parents use the Internet to re-home children from overseas

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BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Child welfare advocates say it is a practice that often goes unnoticed. Some adoptive parents will turn to the Internet to find a new family for the child they adopted overseas.

“Families are increasingly turning to chat rooms, going underground and making informal placements without any kind of court involvement,” said child welfare specialist Maureen Flatley.

It is called “private re-homing.” The practice is more common in foreign adoptions where there is little government oversight. It can be as simple as posting a photo of the adoptive child with a brief description on the Internet. The adoptive parents would hand over the child and guardianship to the new family through a “Power of Attorney” document. It may sound dangerous, but “private re-homing” can sometimes be a good option. It is an easy way for the adoptive family to place the child under the care of a trusted relative – but that is not always the case.

Children’s League of Massachusetts’ Erin Bradley told 22News, “there’s no checking of the homes that these children are being placed into so many times, these are people that have either been sexual predators previously or that they have been found guilty of abuse and neglect.”

Child welfare advocates testified before state lawmakers in hopes of shutting down these underground chat rooms and penalizing those who use them. State Representative Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke) is in support of the bill. He said, “Hopefully what we’ll be able to do is have the DCF (Department of Children and Families) be able to oversee these chat rooms as it were and crack down on this.”

Supporters hope that by starting at the state-level, it will bring about changes to federal adoption laws.

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