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Bill would limit 'informal adoptions'

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin couples would need government approval to transfer custody of their kids to non-relatives, under a bill passed by the state Assembly. Yesterday's vote was 97-to-nothing. The bill also prohibits couples from advertising online for informal adoptions. A similar ban already exists for T-V and newspapers.

Oconomowoc Republican Joel Kleefisch said government needs to get involved in out-of-family adoptions, to make sure the children are protected. Last year, the Reuters News Service reported that couples were using Yahoo and Facebook to pass off their kids to homes outside their own states. A Manitowoc County couple shipped their adopted child off to Illinois, without knowing that the mother was previously forced to give up her biological children due to concerns about violence.

The bill makes informal child transfers a criminal misdemeanor. Kleefisch said he hoped Wisconsin could set an example for child protection. The measure now goes to the Senate.

Also the Assembly approved tougher laws against human trafficking. On a voice vote, lawmakers expanded the definition of trafficking to include any schemes to control individuals. Victims who are prostitutes could try to have previous sex convictions expunged. That bill also goes to the Senate.