WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), co-chairs of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, announced that provisions from their legislation to protect adopted children have passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee as part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) Reauthorization Act.

“We must do everything we can to protect adopted children and ensure they are placed in safe, loving homes,” said Klobuchar. “With strong bipartisan support, provisions from our bill to prevent unregulated custody transfers have moved out of committee and onto the floor, bringing us one step closer to stopping this harmful practice and improving the adoption process for families and children.”

“Rehoming is an unacceptable practice that puts children at increased risk of abuse and exploitation,” said Blunt. “By classifying rehoming as child abuse, child welfare authorities will have an important tool to keep kids safe.”

The following provisions from the Safe Home Act, introduced by Klobuchar and Blunt in February, are included in the CAPTA Reauthorization Act:

  • Providing a definition of unregulated custody transfers.
  • Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to:
    • Report to Congress on unregulated custody transfers (UCTs);
    • Issue technical assistance to states on preventing, identifying, and responding to UCTs; and 
    • Provide information to families on pre-adoption training and post-legal adoption services. 

Unregulated custody transfers occur when parents transfer custody of their adopted children outside of the child welfare system – without background checks, home studies, and supervision – increasing the likelihood that the child will experience neglect, exploitation, or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

For years, Senators Klobuchar and Blunt have worked to improve the adoption process for Americans. 

  • This Congress, they reintroduced the Intercountry Adoption Advisory Committee Act to provide the Secretary of State with authority to establish an Intercountry Adoption Advisory Committee to focus on coordinating the development, refinement, and implementation of policy and programs on intercountry adoption.
  • In October 2020, they sent a letter urging the State Department to prioritize policies to promote intercountry adoption as the department searches for new accrediting entities for intercountry adoption service providers and to look specifically at the fee schedule for accrediting entities to ensure they do not impose undue financial burdens on families seeking to adopt internationally. 
  • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, they sent a letter in April 2020 asking the Department of State to use all available resources to ensure that intercountry adoptions proceed in a safe and timely manner during the coronavirus pandemic and that American families stranded abroad while completing these adoptions return home safely.
  • They previously sent a letter in June 2018 urging the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to ensure that the dialogue between the DOS, Congress, and the Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) continues and that members and experts in the adoption community are consulted in efforts to develop and implement policies that advance intercountry adoption. 
  • In May 2019, they introduced the Supporting Adoptive Families Act to help provide pre- and post-adoption support services, including mental health treatment, to help adoptive families stay strong, and encouraged former Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Lynn Johnson to raise awareness for National Adoption Month, which began November 1st.  
  • Klobuchar and Blunt also introduced the Accuracy for Adoptees Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in early 2014. This legislation cuts red tape for adoptive families and ensures that corrections made to adoptees’ birth certificates by state courts would be recognized by the federal government.
  • Additionally, Klobuchar authored the International Adoption Simplification Act to help siblings stay together during international adoptions and protect adoptees from unsafe immunizations in foreign countries, which was signed into law on November 30, 2010. 

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