Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children - Ohio

Date: August 2022


Citation: Rev. Code §§ 2151.03; 5103.17

The term 'neglected child' includes any child whose parents, legal guardian, or custodian have placed or attempted to place the child in violation of §§ 5103.16 and 5103.17.

The term 'qualified adoptive parent' means a person who is eligible to adopt a child under § 3107.03 and for whom an assessor has conducted a home study to determine whether the person is suitable to adopt a child, if required by § 3107.031.

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3109.52; 5103.16; 5103.17

The parent of a child may create a power of attorney that grants to a grandparent with whom the child is residing any of the parent's rights and responsibilities regarding the care, physical custody, and control of the child, including the ability to enroll the child in school; to obtain educational and behavioral information from the school district; to consent to all school-related matters; and to consent to medical, psychological, or dental treatment for the child. The power of attorney may not grant authority to consent to the marriage or adoption of the child. The power of attorney does not affect the rights of the child's parent in any future proceeding concerning custody of the child or the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the child.

No child shall be placed for adoption unless placement is made by a public children services agency, an entity that is certified by the Department of Job and Family Services, or custodians in another State or foreign country, or unless all the following criteria are met:

  • Prior to the placement of the child, the parent personally has applied to and appeared before the probate court of the county in which the parent resides or in which the person seeking to adopt the child resides for approval of the proposed placement.
  • The court ordered an independent home study of the proposed placement, and after completion of the home study, the court determined that the proposed placement is in the best interests of the child.
  • The court has approved the proposed placement.

No person or government entity, other than a child-placing agency, shall advertise that the person or entity will adopt children or place them in foster homes, hold out inducements to parents to part with their offspring, or in any manner knowingly become a party to the separation of a child from the child's parents, except through a juvenile court or probate court commitment.


Citation: Rev. Code §§ 5103.16; 5103.17

This section (requiring placement by an authorized agency) does not apply to an adoption by a stepparent, a grandparent, a grandparent's husband or wife, a legal custodian, or a guardian.

The biological parent of a child may advertise the availability for placement of the parent's child for adoption to a qualified adoptive parent.

A qualified adoptive parent may advertise that the qualified adoptive parent is available for placement of a child into the qualified adoptive parent's care for the purpose of adopting the child.

A government entity may advertise about its role in the placement of children for adoption or any other information that would be relevant to qualified adoptive parents.


Citation: Rev. Code § 5103.17

If the department has reasonable cause to believe a violation of this section has been committed, the department shall notify the attorney general or the county prosecutor, city attorney, village solicitor, or other chief legal officer of the political subdivision in which the violation has allegedly occurred. On receipt of the notification, the attorney general, county prosecutor, city attorney, village solicitor, or other chief legal officer shall take action to enforce this section through injunctive relief or criminal charge.