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Proposed bill seeks to end unregulated child custody transfers

When most Colorado residents think about child custody matters, they envision a fight between two parents over the division of parenting time. There are other types of child custody issues, however, that take a different form. One state is considering legislation that would put an end to unregulated child custody transfers, also known as the process of "re-homing" children.

Unregulated child custody transfers occur when a parent signs away his or her custody rights to another party, independent of the state's oversight. For example, in cases where a couple seeks to adopt a child from an adoption agency, that process involves the state's department of child welfare services. However, if a couple wishes to end their parenting relationship with a child and "give" that child to another party, they can do so by simply signing away their rights.

This has become a problem in regard to adopted children. In many cases, families adopt an older child or a child with special needs, only to find that they are not properly equipped to deal with the challenges that the child presents. Often, there are few resources available to assist the family, and the frustrated adoptive parents turn to the Internet to find a new home for the child. Unfortunately, not every person who seeks a child to care for is doing so for the right reasons, which leaves children vulnerable to neglect or abuse.

If the proposed law were to pass, it would require all child custody transfers to take place using the state's existing oversight measures. That would mean that the prospective parents would be screened in the same way as any other adopting family, and that follow-up services would be provided to ensure that the child was being properly cared for within the new home. Many people in Colorado and elsewhere support such a change and will follow the story to see whether the bill is signed into law.

Source: concordmonitor.com, "Bill aims to ban unregulated child custody transfers, a process known as "re-homing"", Allie Morris, Feb. 17, 2016

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