TIME Crime

Wisconsin Inks Bill to Prevent Parents From ‘Giving Away’ Adopted Children

Wisconsin Governor Mellencamp
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker answers questions from reporters on April 16, 2014, in Madison, Wis. Scott Bauer—AP

Wisconsin has passed a first-in-the-nation law that prevents parents from handing over custody of their adopted children without judicial approval

Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law on Wednesday aimed at limiting private custody transfers of their unwanted adopted children following a disturbing report that detailed the unregulated trade of adopted minors in the state.

The legislation is a national first and was launched following a five-part Reuters investigation into the practice of “re-homing children.”

According to the news outlet’s expose, hundreds of parents were using social media sites to advertise their adopted children and were then handing them over to strangers found through the Internet.

Without proper safeguards in place, numerous children were being given to abusive adults, and in one disturbing instance a mother handed over her nine-year-old adopted son in a motel parking lot to a pedophile hours after posting a notice about the child on a Yahoo message board.

“With virtually no oversight, children could literally be traded from home to home. In Wisconsin, that is now against the law. Hopefully citizens of the country will follow our lead,” said Republican state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who sponsored the legislation.

In accordance with the new law, parents seeking to transfer the custody of their children must receive judicial approval first. Those who fail to comply with the new regulation can face up to nine months in jail or be fined $10,000.

[Reuters]

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