Langevin Leads Introduction of Bills to Protect Adopted Children


WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI), Karen Bass
(D-CA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Danny Davis (D-IL), Trent Franks (R-AZ), and Tom
Marino (R-PA) introduced two bills aimed at eliminating «re-homing»- an illegal
practice whereby parents transfer custody of their adopted child without going
through the child welfare system. In many cases, these children end up in dangerous
situations where they are at risk of neglect, exploitation or even sexual abuse.

«All children deserve the love, stability and safety of a forever family,» said
Representative Langevin, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. «To
ensure all adoptions succeed, we must prepare and support families so they can
handle the challenges that many adopted children face. Adoptions don’t start and end
when the custody papers are signed. Families need comprehensive training and
post-adoption services, particularly mental health services, so they never feel
desperate enough to re-home their child.»

The Protecting Adopted Children Act would require states receiving Adoption and
Legal Guardianship Incentive
Payments to provide pre- and
post-adoption services to families adopting out of foster care. These services would
help address the mental health needs of adopted children and their families,
particularly related to trauma, loss, abuse, neglect, and substance exposure, from
which many children in the foster care system suffer. The bill also mandates that
states require a minimum 20 hours of pre-placement training for all prospective
adoptive parents and legal guardians.

The Supporting Adopted Children and Families Act would create a grant program under
the Public Health Service Act to fund post-adoption mental health research and
service programs for adopted youth and their families. The Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) would award grants to state, tribal, and non-profit
organizations to develop and implement post-adoption mental health service programs,
including those that provide counseling, mentoring, education, and support groups to
adopted children and families. HHS would also be required to create policy guidance
related to the provision of post-adoption services.

«We must take a proactive stance on preventing the illegal practice of rehoming and
adoptions gone wrong,» said Representative Bass, co-chair of Congressional Caucus on
Foster Youth. «I’m proud to support both the Protecting Adopted Children Act and
the Supporting Adopted Children and Families Act to ensure that our child welfare
system is working to make sure our young people don’t fall through the cracks and
that adoptions are done as safely as possible with the highest chance for a
successful placement as possible. These two bills are great examples of stepping up
and helping one of our country’s most vulnerable populations.»

«Adoptive parents have a huge responsibility when it comes to the care and support
they provide to the children they welcome in their home,» said Representative
Lawrence, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. «Supporting adopted
children and their parents should likewise be a priority of Congress, and that’s why
I am a strong supporter of the Protecting Adopted Children’s Act and the Supporting
Adopted Children and Families Act put forth by Representative Jim Langevin. We need
this kind of legislation that would support training for adoptive parents or
guardians as well as addressing the importance of supporting the mental health and
general well-being of adopted children. I am passionate about supporting adoptive
and foster youth in our country and I am excited to support these bills.»

«The tragic cases that are periodically sensationalized in the media – such as
adopted children being ‘rehomed’ — remind us of the challenges that families face
when embracing children from hard places, who come from backgrounds in which they
have suffered deep trauma caused by abuse and neglect,» said Representative Franks,
co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. «Decades of brain science show
us the lasting harm caused by toxic stress and trauma – and while we have also
learned that the brain is resilient, and can heal from even severe forms of trauma –
parents often need help, training, guidance, and support when they are seeking to
provide the necessary specialized, therapeutic care to their children. I am pleased
to be able to join with my colleagues to support the Protecting Adopted Children’s
Act, to begin to address this crucial need of some of the most vulnerable children
in our midst, and that of the families seeking to provide them a forever home
through adoption.»

«As the proud parent of two adopted children, I understand what adoptive parents can
go through when they first begin caring for their child and how stressful the
process can be,» said Representative Marino, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on
Foster Youth. «The Protecting Adopted Children’s Act and the Supporting Adopted
Children and Families Act are two commonsense bills which help to ensure adoptions
are done properly and a child is successfully placed by providing the necessary pre-
and post- adoption services to families. I proudly join my colleagues in supporting
these bills and look forward to continuing to shape policy which protects our
nation’s adopted children and those in the foster care system.»

The bills take a preventative approach to ending «re-homing» by addressing its
causes, including lack of preparation and support services, to ensure families never
reach a point where they feel they can no longer care for- and thus must give up
custody of- their adopted child. The legislation was introduced in conjunction with
a briefing hosted by Voice for Adoption on Tuesday, which highlighted the importance
of pre- and post-adoption services in encouraging successful adoptions out of foster