Advertising for Placement of Child

In Texas, placing a child for adoption is legally accomplished through licensed child placing agencies. When a licensed child placing agency posts advertisements in public media, offering their services, they are required to identify the advertisement as one placed by a licensed child-placing agency.

The crime of advertising for placement of a child is focused on persons or agencies that are not licensed child placing agencies. Lay people, for example, are not permitted to advertise using public media that they have a child they wish to place for adoption. They also are not permitted to advertise their willingness to provide a child for adoption. Nor are they allowed to advertise their willingness or ability to obtain a child who can be placed for adoption.

“Public media” is defined as including telephone directories, legal directories, newspapers and other periodicals, billboards, other signs, radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, recorded messages, or other written communications. The statute also prohibits the use of the internet to advertise the availability of a child for adoption, or the service of obtaining a child for adoption.

For a first offense, this crime is punished as a Class A misdemeanor, which comes with a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. For a second or subsequent offense, this crime is charged as a felony in the third degree, which is punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and a minimum of two years and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Penal Code Section 25.09 

ADVERTISING FOR PLACEMENT OF CHILD.

(a)  A person commits an offense if the person advertises in the public media that the person will place a child for adoption or will provide or obtain a child for adoption.

(b)  This section does not apply to a licensed child-placing agency that is identified in the advertisement as a licensed child-placing agency.

(c)  An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the person has been convicted previously under this section, in which event the offense is a felony of the third degree.

(d)  In this section:

(1)  “Child” has the meaning assigned by Section 101.003, Family Code.

(2)  “Public media” has the meaning assigned by Section 38.01.  The term also includes communications through the use of the Internet or another public computer network.

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