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Parents Abandoning Teens Under Law Created For Babies

Nebraska recently became the first state to permit the abandonment of anyone under 19 years of age, despite speculation that such a law might encourage anyone with an unruly or disabled child to simply leave them at a safe haven. It looks like those fears have been justified.

Last month, 15 older children in Nebraska were dropped off at safe-haven spots after their parents or guardians deemed them unmanageable, according to the New York Times.

One mother left her 14-year-old son, two more boys and one girl, ages 11 to 15, were abandoned in hospitals and, a single father surrendered nine of his 10 children, ages 1 to 17, saying that his wife had died and he couldn't raise them alone. Sadly, the list goes on. To see what lawmakers have to say about the trend,


Officials are calling the child surrenders a "misuse" of a new law that was intended to prevent the abandonment of infants (usually by teenage mothers), but is actually being used as a way to get rid of difficult teenagers or older children that are straining financially strapped or overwhelmed families. It is believed that a shortage of short-term care, counseling, and psychiatric services has led to families feeling like they have no other choice. Nationwide, more than 2,000 babies have been turned over since Texas enacted the first safe-haven law in 1999, according to the National Safe Haven Alliance in Virginia.


Join The Conversation
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
I am also completely horrified by these statistics. How sick can these people be?!! However I also have to wonder, if these parents are capable of abandoning their kids, what kind of life would those kids have had if there were no safe haven option? Those kinds of parents would not have taken good care of them or provided them with a good life. Perhaps in the end getting away from those sick people might be a good thing, or at least a lesser of two evils. Now it remains to be seen how the government will provide for all these children . . .
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 8 years
I'm getting the general feeling that most people are feeling bad for the widowed single father but c'mon...10 kids? That is ridiculous.
girlA girlA 8 years
Considering the outrageous amount of children in foster care in this country (over 500,000), it's always sad to see more children enter the system. This law just allows parents to give up their children at the drop of hat--there needs to be more mental health services available to parents and children instead of allowing parents to abandon their responsibilities.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
The 10th child was 18.
Purly Purly 8 years
"a single father surrendered nine of his 10 children, ages 1 to 17, saying that his wife had died and he couldn't raise them alone" What did he do with the tenth child?
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Really? I could understand that if these kids were 2 or 3. These kids are much older, and some could get part time jobs to help out. I think I would have to blame the parents irresponsibility for this. What a poor message to send to your children. I'm tired of dealing with you, so I'm going to drop you off somewhere and let someone else take care of you.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
I think this is more of a reflection on the level of poverty in our country right now, than it is about morality.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
Stephley, yes I agree call it abandonment to the parents but not to the children. And yes, I've known adopted children and about half of them feel abandonded by their parents (and in many cases they were since most of the adopted children I know are Chinese). So true that the child is going to feel what they feel no matter what, but us being more careful with how we word things could help their healing (imo of course). and I just reread my post - I hope nobody takes what I said about the Chinese as being a racist comment. It's just a sad fact that many of those babies are abandoned and in some cases left to die due to the laws in that country.
stephley stephley 8 years
I see your points Kim and Pink, and I do sympathize with the overwhelmed aspect of it, I just don't think the word should be taken out of the situation because I think it emphasizes the horrible seriousness of what's happening - and maybe reminds the parent of going for help versus walking away. The kids are going to call it as they see it anyway. Mine's adopted and no matter what I say about her birth mother's intentions, she feels dumped.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
"why sugarcoat this?" well to me because it's less damaging to the child(ren). It's one thing for a child to hear that their parent had problems and couldn't parent properly (or whatever), but it's a completely different thing for a child to hear their parent abandonded them. I agree with you (Stephley) that education and support is vital to parenting. Which is why I said that I wished the parents would get help for themselves (preferably before getting to the point of giving up).
stephley stephley 8 years
No, it's abandonment: to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert: to abandon one's farm; to abandon a child; to abandon a sinking ship. to give up the control of. Parenting is hard, but if you're walking away from a child - even if you're leaving it at a 'safe place' - you're abandoning your responsibilities as a parent. It's abandoning a spouse if you up and walk out on a marriage, why sugarcoat this? Maybe as a society we need to encourage some people to admit that they don't want to have children to begin with, or to help people who became parents before they realized how tough a job it is, or to help with difficult special needs children, or to do more to help families stay together in difficult times - but it's that crazy t-ball, everyone gets a trophy mentality to call 'dropping your kids off at a safe haven for permanent placement elsewhere' anything but abandonment.
PinkNC PinkNC 8 years
I completely agree with *kimpossible*. It's not "abandonment* because these children are being left at a safe haven spot. What temporary needs they have, the adults at the time can most likely take care of until they are permanently placed in foster care, and then they are properly evaluated. And we don't know what particular problems these parents were facing at home. You don't know unless you've been there or at least seen it, when it comes to terrible children, children with disabilities, or hard times money wise, and etc…. Like with the father of 10 children that had a recently deceased wife. They may have been good children, but the financial stress on him, along with many other problems that I'm sure he was facing on a daily basis, finally got to him. I think it was better for that father to realize ahead of time that it was time to give up and place the children with the proper authorities, than to have him loose it mentally and possibly physically harm the children, or honestly abandon them in the middle of nowhere, stating to them (lying) about him coming back to get them. As long as the law is use in the proper manner then I don’t have a problem with parents like the father of ten. Some times the justice system moves to slow when it come to handling the smallest things. Therefore sometimes you have to go around the law and do things the shorter way in order to get things done for you and yours. Each case is different when it comes to this law and the parent that properly use it, or misuse it for their own personal gain, just to get rid of their responsibly (children) which are NOT truly that bad, and that they have NO financial or mental problem that may harm the children in the future.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I hate that they call it "abandonment", because to me there is a big difference between dropping off your child(ren) at a safe place and just dumping them in the street, or leaving them at home while you run away. I'm not going to judge anyone for leaving their children at a safe place if that's what they felt they needed to do. And like others have said, if the parents felt the need to do this then it was probably for the best - who knows what their home life was like. Not saying it's going to be easy for those children - it's not. And I do wish the parents would get help for themselves (preferably before they got to the point of wanting to give up). I think in some cases this is a very helpful law, and just like anything else, it's also going to be abused at times.
HushYuppie HushYuppie 8 years
Though it is an absolute abuse of the law, I can, reluctantly, see it as positive if this is the *only* alternative these kids have to being destitute and on the streets.
rachelsmith rachelsmith 8 years
It's so sad, but any kid with parents that wold do that are probably in an awful home situation, so maybe it's for the better...
Misalady Misalady 8 years
If these parents WANTED to get rid of the kids, then it's probably best that they were given up, anyway.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
This is really, really sad.
Stella-Stylist Stella-Stylist 8 years
WOW!! I am at a loss for words. Society is making it REAL easy to get out of your responsibilities!! First marriage and now this! How on Earth would anyone want to give up on their children? I have two boys and LAWD knows that I think about running away each and every day.....give them the house and be OUTTRO! Then reality and sanity kicks in. Just the thought of what kind of self image those kids will have once they get older. It's sooo sad!!
HelloAnia HelloAnia 8 years
I can't believe people stoop to this. I can't imagine parting or giving up my cats, not to mention a human being whom you're responsible for, I think in this case even if the kids are "unruly" it's because their parents failed them a long time ago, way before the moment they dropped them off at a "safe haven."
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
I heard about this early last month, but i reckon i've no opinion.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Yikes! Looks like I could be the lucky guy. Too bad I missed that ad.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
The thing with that girl, is that it is totally that mother's and father's (if he's even in the picture) fault she is the way she is.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Holy crap tia! That is insane!! :jawdrop:
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
So true, true, lol, talk about the moses law going to the extreme, with teens though
tiabia tiabia 8 years
But...what if this is your child...totally the drop-off and roll-out variety!!!
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