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Child Abandonment is Legal in Nebraska

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In Nebraska, there's a new "safe haven" law that allows a parent or legal guardian to leave an unwanted child at any hospital without fear of prosecution. We've heard about similar laws in other states protecting newborns ... but what makes the Nebraska law different is that parents and caregivers are allowed to surrender older kids too.

In two separate incidents over the weekend, a 44-year-old woman dropped off her teenage nephew, saying the boy had behavioral problems that she couldn't handle anymore. The woman is the boy's legal guardian.

In the other case, a mom dropped off her 11-year-old boy, saying she could no longer care for him. We know raising a tween or teen boy is no walk in the park, but should abandoning an older child be legal?

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16 comments so far | Post a comment now
Barbara Howard September 16, 2008, 4:31 PM

This is very disturbing. Also, I’d like to know what happens to these teens after they are abandoned? Are they simply feed into the Foster Care System and placed among strangers? Or, do the authorities try to locate other family members to take in the child? So many questions and concerns…

So sad.

sherry September 16, 2008, 4:45 PM

What a horrible thing. I mean, it’s better than just tossing them on the street or abusing them, but abandoning kids? Talk about setting them up for a lifetime of problems.

Wendy September 16, 2008, 4:54 PM

Wow! My mouth dropped when I read that headline. It is very disturbing, I suppose it is better than someone just abandoning babies in dumpsters, etc. like you read about on the news, but I think as Sherry said, this is going to bring another set of problems that will need to be issued.

Keri September 16, 2008, 6:22 PM

It’s horrible and sad and obviously will result in a lifetime of dealing with the emotional trauma from being abandoned … but, if the mother is abusive, or a drug addict or alcoholic, or a prostitute or lives with an abusive man that she won’t leave, then maybe the chance for that child to have a better life somewhere else is worth it. People don’t just abandon or kill infants - they do it to older children too, and maybe it wouldn’t happen so much if the moms had a way out. Being a Mom is a blessing and the most wonderful thing a person can experience, BUT it is CRAZY hard work on all levels, and I think some people just can’t handle it. If the choice is b/w life and death (or abuse) for the child, I say let the mother give them up.

Gilly September 16, 2008, 6:46 PM

I agree with Keri, being a mom is crazy hard and if you are already nearly at the crazy mark, well then, that kid is in trouble! Yes, it’s terrible that a parent or guardian would do this. Shame on them! But I’d much rather read that they abadoned them at a safe place without fear or prosecution than hear they are missing, dead or adandoned someplace where they will most likely not survive (like a baby in a dumpster sort of thing).

Anonymous September 16, 2008, 9:58 PM

I agree this is crazy and so sad for these kids, but I do think it’s a heck of alot better then reading how their parents killed them!

M.L. September 16, 2008, 11:15 PM

This is really sad!!! But recently in the town I live in, a father shot his 13-year-old, they still don’t know why, but this is much better. Our whole community is in shock, I would much rather read a story about an abandment, then a parent shooting their child.

J.S. September 17, 2008, 7:39 AM

As a parent of teenage boys I can’t even imagine just leaving them somewhere because it got too hard. I am sorry but I do believe these women should be charged. They didn’t drop off an unwanted infant, that can be adopted and never remember a thing, they dropped off children they have or should have a bond with. The effect this is going to have on these kids, to know that their mom or legal guardian just threw them away. My heart bleeds for these children, it is such a sad sad case.

Dorothy September 17, 2008, 1:18 PM

What is this world coming to?!! How very very sad for these 2 children. Their lives are going to be forever changed and they WILL be scared for life. Adoption works for most babies or toddlers, but a person doesn’t hear of many people who want to adopt older children. If I had the means I would see if I could adopt one of these children…
I ask other families who read about this to look in their hearts and try to help these young children! Is there a Church out there that can get the ball rolling & see what they can do? Please someone, anyone try to help these children. They are not yesterday’s trash… God doesn’t make Trash!

Miss B September 27, 2008, 11:51 AM

What’s the difference with dropping the child(ren) off with a stranger, no ?’s asked and dropping off at grandma’s with neither no support nor asking if it’s ok? I know one is blood related and the other isn’t. But is still isn’t fair or right. Grandparents, on a fixed income and paying high prices for their own meds, cannot afford the cost of raising children who are not wanted by their own parent(s) bad behavior or not. Grandparents are now force to go back to work to pay for the child(ren)’s health care, school, clothes, etc, etc just because the parent(s) don’t want to parent or learn how to. In most cases we struggled and raised ours until they got on their own and did not abandon them. These days there is help available to struggling parents which was not available when I was parenting.

Thevenin September 28, 2008, 7:03 PM

How does this law affect inheritance? Can an abandoned child legally sue for child support? Or are the abandoning parents probably not well off enough to matter?

Do any of you support forceable sterilization of people who abandon their children? If the get their act together and want more kids, they might be eligible to care for another abandoned child…

ctg21361 November 13, 2008, 8:02 PM

Yes, I support forced sterilization of parents who abandon their children. If anything, not just sterilization but castration and removal of any ability to function sexually. They can’t be responsible and they have the nerve to abandon their kids with “behavioral issues” being an excuse (no excuse. You work with them!), then they should be punished (they have no right to ‘pleasure’). Abandonment is also a form of abuse because of what is does to a child psychologically. Such parents should also be labeled as child abusers and towns alerted about them because what they did is no better than other forms of child abuse. If they would neglect, abuse or murder their kids if they kept them, then they should not have had kids in the first place.

Ginny November 17, 2008, 8:24 AM

One mother brought her 12 year old son to the emergency room to abandon him. He sat crying and was saying”please don’t leave me” to her over and over. He finally said, ” will you come visit me?”, and she said “I will if I can”

These parents need to take responsibility for their kids. They need to get counseling for whatever is overwhelming them and start acting like adults. This is not a used coat you are dropping off to the salvation army! You are not suppposed to stop being parents because life is hard!

You can read the article from the Boston Globe newspaper dated 11/16/2008[Nebraska set to revise safe haven law]

These poor kids! Now that they HAVE gone through abandonment, how do we help them?

brenda June 18, 2009, 1:48 PM

i think abondoning is just wrong and i think thats a bad choice to make why would you have children and then to abandon them if you don’t want them then you should at least put them in a foster home or something.Thats just bad perenting to just do that.It is very sad foe these children that have to go through this.I personally think it is a horrible thing to do.

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