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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Parents, Adults and Teens » Safe Haven Laws (the teenage edition)

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Author Topic: Safe Haven Laws (the teenage edition)
Alice
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Many states in the US have enacted Safe Haven Laws, which generally means you can leave your infant at some designated place such as a hospital or fire station without fear of the law.

In Nebraska however, the law has been defined as anyone under the age of 18, so there have been a rash of parents dropping their teenage children off. Some even driving through states to get to Nebraska.

quote:
OMAHA, Nebraska (CNN) -- Nebraska officials said they're concerned about an apparent rush by parents to drop their teenage children off at hospitals before lawmakers change the state's troubled "safe haven" law.

The latest cases came on the eve of a special session of the Legislature on Friday to add an age limit to the law. On Thursday, a boy, 14, and his 17-year-old sister were dropped off at an Omaha hospital; the girl ran away from the hospital, officials said. A 5-year-old boy was left by his mother at a different hospital, officials said.

The day before, a father flew in from Miami, Florida, to leave his teenage son at a hospital, officials said.

"Please don't bring your teenager to Nebraska," Gov. Dave Heineman told CNN. "Think of what you are saying. You are saying you no longer support them. You no longer love them."

Nebraska's safe haven law was intended to allow parents to hand over an infant anonymously to a hospital without being prosecuted. Of the 34 children who have been dropped off at hospitals, officials said not one has been an infant.

All but six have been older than 10, according to a Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services analysis.

(emphasis mine)
CNN link

The Legislature is taking steps to set an age limit on the law.

Why do you think this is happening? How does this make you feel? If you lived in this area would you feel in danger of being left by your parents? Whose responsibility do you think this is.. the errant teenagers, the parents, the government, the media?

What would you do if your parent put you in the car and you figured out you were about to be left at a hospital while they walked away?

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

Posts: 1180 | From: WA | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Lauren-
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It's definitely the parents fault. They know full well what the law is intended for, and they choose to exploit it only to justify giving up on their kids.

On the other hand, in some way, I'm happy this is happening. Any parent who is horrible and manipulative enough to just dump their non-infant kid off probably is abusive in other ways, and the kids need help. For crap's sake, there was a case of someone putting their 8-year-old boy on a PLANE from Illinois just to exploit the law in Nebraska! He doesn't need to go back to that home, and I hope they're investigating.

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bluejumprope
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Wow, that's some story.

My first reaction is a surge of excitement that this is getting out in the open. There are a lot of parents who don't want to be parents and this shows that given the opportunity, a lot of parents will gladly get rid of their kids. To our cultural sensibilities this is disturbing, but personally, the honesty of it makes me breathe with relief. These people shouldn't be parents. They never should have been parents. The kids are not getting what they need. My hope is that in some small way this influences more people to have abortions, take greater preventative measures in getting pregnant and do deeper self-examination before deciding to have a child.

I think it's good that these kids are getting away from their inadequate/abusive parents but the method is traumatic and who knows where they're going? Maybe they'll be placed in a foster home that's better than their parents' home or maybe they won't. What is their life going to be like now? What sort of protection, support and love is available to them? And, what about all of their belongings? No doubt, they had personal possessions that they were attached to at home. It's like they've been dropped in a refugee camp.

The governor's plea is pathetic. The solution is not for the kids to stay with their abusive parents. This is a real problem, and it's not that these parents aren't trying hard enough or don't understand the impact of abandoning their children. They are just unable to support them--emotionally, energetically and/or financially.

I see this as above all a societal problem. This phenomenon could only arise in a society that is profoundly sex-negative, portrays parenthood as an essential stage of adulthood and doesn't honor individuals' real needs.

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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Alice
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quote:
Originally posted by bluejumprope:

The governor's plea is pathetic. The solution is not for the kids to stay with their abusive parents. This is a real problem, and it's not that these parents aren't trying hard enough or don't understand the impact of abandoning their children. They are just unable to support them--emotionally, energetically and/or financially.

I see this as above all a societal problem. This phenomenon could only arise in a society that is profoundly sex-negative, portrays parenthood as an essential stage of adulthood and doesn't honor individuals' real needs.

Very true. I'm thinking that something has to be done to support these parents before it comes to this. But what? Honestly, I really have no idea. But something that comes to mind is maybe fixing Child Protective Services so that they actually work. They are known for harassing some families for no reason while ignoring or not doing enough for others, and then it all comes out a few months later when a kid dies. That makes me so incredibly angry and sad. Of course it's not that simple, but that's all I got right now. [Smile]

One thing I want to add, too, is that while the law lets parents leave their children without fear of being charged with abandonment, if there are signs of abuse or neglect on the kid (like bruises, or they weight a fraction of what they should, etc) then they're NOT off the hook, supposedly.

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

Posts: 1180 | From: WA | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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