Can a corporation (w/ legal corporate personhood as under e.g. US law) be a foster parent or adopt?

If it isn’t obvious, this is speculation and I’m not planning on starting a company to try to do this!

I know that under the laws of the US and other countries, a corporation is a legal person who can own property, sue, be sued, be charged with and convicted of criminal offenses, but, to my knowledge, cannot vote, run for or hold public office (imagine the following sign on the road: Wecome to Redmond, Washington, Mayor Microsoft, Inc. welcomes you), or do other things that require “citizenship”.

Are there any jurisdictions (anywhere in the world) that permit a corporation to be a foster parent, have custody of a child, or adopt a child? I’m not terribly interested in speculation - does anyone know of any statutes or case law that covers this? I recall reading about one case (possibly the UK or another commonwealth realm) that stated a corporation couldn’t have legal custody over a child, but I don’t have the citation in front of me). I also seem to recall a science fiction story that invoved a corporation holding legal office and providing a Dickensian child welfare program based around dehumanization and menial labor exploitation in its jurisdiction that the heroine eventually escaped.

Speculating about this, I could see this as a potentially powerful but double-edged tool for children’s welfare - corporations with deep pockets could earn some extra money from foster care fees normally paid to foster parents and improve their public image, but it could easily turn into a nightmare where you find hundreds of children forced to do menial labor at corporate orphanage programs where the corporation’s rationale is that since parents are entitled to give minor children chores around the home and are not required to pay minimum wage, then the kids that the corporation sponsors can be forced to flip burgers, assemble furniture, or work a cash register for no pay or for a trivial “allowance”.

It’s called an orphanage. They exist.

What I meant was a FOR-PROFIT corporation doing this. E.g. have a "WalMart Orphanage" where the kids have to assemble worthless crap that gets sold in WalMart stores for 5 hours a week or else be grounded, and where the kids can’t quit because they are kids under legal supervision.

No offence, WalMart, but I picked you as a speculative example.

At this point they would be considered employees and you would run afoul of child labor and minimum wage issues. Trading even room and board for labor is articulated in labor code with specific maximum values and such. If so you now have to show that they were paid, pay taxes, withold taxes, pay SSI/disability, etc.

A corporation is not a “person” but a legal entity. Can a corporation be charged with a criminal offense? If a corporation is charged with a felony, who goes to jail? :confused:

What’s the difference between what you describe and slavery, which is illegal under the 13th amendment of the constitution?

Legal entities, including corporations, are “persons” in matters of law. They’re just not natural persons.

Yes. See Arthur Andersen, LLP for a famous recent example. A legal entity can not be put in jail, so criminal sentences are generally limited to fines, the revocation of various licenses and permits, the inability to do business with the government, and in some cases involuntary dissolution.

Usually no one. But corporations aren’t often charged with crimes unless there’s also a good case against its leadership.

Missed the edit window.

Here’s an instructive tidbit from a Justice Department document titled Bringing Criminal Charges Against Corporations

What’s the difference between me demanding that my children do their chores and slavery? (Well, don’t ask them, 'cause they’ll say ‘nothing’. :smiley: )

Parents are generally allowed to give their children chores (e.g. clean the sink, mow the lawn) without paying wages, and establish discipline and punishments and are granted wide leeway by the law. Generally, decisions made by parents regarding their children cannot be appealed to family court unless the parent’s punishment constitutes neglect or abuse. E.g. if a parent tells a child that they may not go to a concert because they talked back to Grandma, the child cannot appeal the punishment to Child Protective Services or the court system, either on evidentiary grounds (not enough evidence that child was saucy), cruel and unusual punishment, or any other legal theory.

My question related to whether or not a for-profit corporation could ever be in that parental role. E.g. 15 year old John’s parents die and social services places him up for adoption. Wal*Mart steps up and agrees to adopt John, and promptly gives him “chores” that consist of working at the register, or mopping floors, or butlering for corporate executives, for X hours a week after school and on the weekends.

Now, I know that situation is bizarre when you listen to it, but I’m curious as to what the law has to say about this, and whether it could happen in theory, and if not, why.

Even if a corporation could legally adopt a child, don’t adoptions require approval of some state agency which probably would not do so in this case. I’m not sure what would happen if a parent’s will specified that Wal*Mart was to be the guardian upon the parent’s death.

  1. A Corporation or a Company is enjoys legal personality. To be able to adopt a child you need to be a “natural” i.e human, person.

2)A Company can committ a crime and punishments are perscribed. It is not unknown for directors to be convicted in cases where the crime was done at the behest of the director (ordering false accouting).

  1. To the OP, no such thing as “UK” law, there is the law of England and Wales, of Northern Ireland, of Scotland, but not UK Law.

  2. When Orphans go to an orphanage they become “wards of the state” or whatever the relevant legal term in your jurisdiction is, at that time (depending on the juridiction) responsibility for them reverts to the state through whatever organ or institution is normally respondible.

The relevant Virginia statute limits adoption to “natural persons.” I think the Thirteenth Amendment would be a bar to extending parenthood to corporations.

With respect to the notion of a corporation adopting children and forcing them to labor for it’s benefit, surely the law has defined the difference between a minor’s chores and an employee’s labor. A sole proprietor (i.e. not incorporated) cannot force his son to work for free nor withhold payment as punishment.

if a business corporation be able to foster or adopt a minor would it have to be in existence for 18 years before it could do so?

Quite right.

Even regular human people have to be approved by the appropriate child welfare agency and often by a Judge in court for an adoption to go through. Presumably, the Judge would balk at being told that the adoptive parent(s) – they often want two – are Walmart, Inc. and Blackwater Security, Inc.