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Fla. Senators To Take Up Informal Adoption Ban, Continue Talk Of Curbing Child Deaths

Florida Senate
Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood)

A Florida lawmaker hopes to prohibit a practice called “private re-homing” during the 2014 session. The move follows a probe that found people who adopted children overseas gave up those same kids through an informal adoption online.

Informal Online Adoption

According to a Reuters investigation, Americans who tired of raising children they adopt overseas sometimes find their way to online groupsthrough Yahoo and Facebookto advertise the child for a second adoption. 

"This has a lot to do with buying and selling kids through the internet. So, you could say this is a form of slavery," said Hollywood Democratic Senator Eleanor Sobel.

Sobel says while she’s not sure it’s a problem in Florida, she feels the state needs a law against it.

“What about all these kids who misbehave? Can parents just put them up on the internet? It seems so ridiculous and far out to me to do something like that. It’s just not right rather than go through the process. So, this bill requires that parents be informed, that they have been going through the process. It prohibits custody transfers. There must be court supervision.”

The proposed committee bill (SB 7002) makes the internet re-adoption a third degree felony and allows the state to fine parents up to 150 dollars for every day they’re in violation. The panel Sobel chairs, the Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs, is expected to take up the measure next week.

State Continues Efforts To Curb Child Deaths

Lawmakers will also continue their discussion on how to address the spate of child deaths on the Florida Department of Children and Families’ watch. Sobel says state legislators are making headway on a proposal.

“That bill is involving social workers—raising the bar, when it comes to qualifications of who is a child protective investigator, the qualifications for how the Department of Children and Families makes these calls, like who is making these calls?”

Sobel says she expects her committee will have a bill ready before the start of the 2014 legislative session in early March. According to DCF, close to ten children died this year after having some sort of involvement with the agency.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.