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Steps Have Been Taken to Address Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children

Little is known about the prevalence of unregulated transfers. Because they happen without any oversight, these transfers are difficult to track and no federal agency keeps statistics on their occurrence. GAO’s observations of social media sites found that some parents have been using online forums to seek new homes for their adopted children. During a 15-month period, GAO identified 23 instances in which a parent posted that they were seeking a new family for their child. Because GAO did not investigate these posts and because discussions between online participants can be continued privately, GAO was unable to determine whether these participants intended to pursue a legal placement or an unregulated transfer, or whether such a transfer actually took place.

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