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Nebraska Lets Parents Surrender Kids — Up to 19 Years Old

When you say “abandoned child,” most people conjure up an image of a basket with a baby in it left at the doorstep of an orphanage or a wealthy benefactor. In Nebraska, a new vision of the baby amongst the reeds might emerge — one of an unwanted teenager left at one of the many “safe-haven” drop-off centers for abandoned children.

Whereas every other state in the Union with safe-haven laws focuses on newborns, Nebraska just became the only state to permit the abandonment of anyone under 19 years of age. Critics of the law claim that this is going to encourage anyone with an unruly or disabled child to simply leave them at any safe haven. The executive director of a New York adoption institute says, "Whether the kid is disabled or unruly or just being a hormonal teenager, the state is saying: 'Hey, we have a really easy option for you.'"

However, Senator Tom White, who helped craft the legislation, thinks differently: “All children deserve our protection, if we save one child from being abused, it’s well, well worth it.” Is it? Should parents have the ability to abandon any kid, regardless of how old they are?


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