Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children - Arkansas

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 5-27-211; 9-27-303

The term 'adopted minor' means a person who is younger than age 18 and the subject of an adoption decree that is valid under the law of this State or another State or foreign or international law.

The term 'relative' means a person within the fifth degree of consanguinity by virtue of blood or adoption.

The term 'transaction' includes, without limitation, transferring, advertising, recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, soliciting, or obtaining a minor.

The term 'abandonment' means the following:

  • The failure of the parent to provide reasonable support for a child and to maintain regular contact with a child through statement or contact when the failure is accompanied by an intention on the part of the parent to permit the condition to continue for an indefinite period in the future
  • The failure of a parent to support or maintain regular contact with a child without just cause
  • An articulated intent to forego parental responsibility

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

Citation: Ann. Code § 5-27-211

A person commits the offense of rehoming of a minor if they knowingly engage in the following:

  • A transaction or an action taken to facilitate a transaction through electronic means or otherwise by an adoptive parent, an individual, or an entity having custody of an adopted minor that is taken:
    • Without court approval
    • Except as provided below, to avoid permanent parental responsibility by placing the minor in the physical custody of another person or entity
  • The selling, transferring, or arranging for the sale or transfer of a minor to another person or entity for money or anything of value or to receive a minor for money or anything of value
  • Assisting, aiding, abetting, or conspiring in the commission of an act described above by a person or an entity, regardless of whether money or anything of value has been promised to or received by the person or entity

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 5-27-211; 9-27-303

This section does not apply to any of the following:

  • A person who places a minor with a relative, stepparent, a licensed agency, a licensed attorney, or the Department of Human Services
  • Placement of a minor by a licensed attorney, a licensed agency, or the department
  • Temporary placement of a minor by a parent or custodian for a designated short-term period with a specified intent and time for return of the minor, if the temporary placement is due to a vacation or a school-sponsored function or activity; or the incarceration, military service, medical treatment, or incapacity of a parent or guardian
  • Placement of a minor in accordance with the requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
  • Relinquishment of a minor under the voluntary delivery of a child law, under § 9-34-201, et seq.

The term 'abandonment' does not include a situation in which a child has disrupted their adoption and the adoptive parent has exhausted the available resources.

Consequences

Citation: Ann. Code § 5-27-211

Rehoming of a minor is an unclassified felony with a term of imprisonment of no more than 5 years and a fine of no more than $5,000. It is not a defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that the adoptive parent solicited, advertised, or recruited through electronic means or otherwise and recruited a person that is a law enforcement officer acting within the official scope of their duties and posing as a person willing to accept placement of an adopted minor.