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Iowa Teen Abandoned At Nebraska Hospital

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Wednesday, October 08, 2008 8:35 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Protecting Your Family, Major Medical, Safe Haven Laws, Child Abuse, Abandonment, Abandoned Children, Foster Care


IMAGE SOURCE: iStockPhoto / teen in conflict / author: aldomurillo

A 14-year old Iowa girl was abandoned at an Omaha hospital under Nebraska’s safe haven law. She is the 17th child and the first from another state to be abandoned since July when the law first took effect.

The girl is from Council Bluffs Iowa, said The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Safe haven laws were originally designed for a mother to relinquish custody of her infant at a safe and secure location if she was unable to care for the baby, without fear of prosecution. But the state law includes the word “child” and fails to specify any ages.

That means that in Nebraska, someone up to the age of 19, still considered a minor, could be dropped off.

State lawmakers are discussing amending the laws including adding an age limit. The Legislature’s judiciary and health and human services committees plan to hold a joint public hearing on the safe-haven law on November 13.

In this case, because the child is from Iowa, not Nebraska, the safe haven laws legal protection may not apply.

Whoever abandoned her might be prosecuted in that state, said Todd Landry, director of the department’s division of Children and Family Services.

“We have made a formal abandonment report to the Iowa child abuse hotline,” Landry said. “We are working with Iowa Department of Human Services to resolve the situation in a timely manner.”

The situation is being investigated by officials and few details of the Iowa girl’s abandonment were known as of Tuesday, said a Nebraska HHS spokeswoman.

A spokeswoman for Creighton Hospital said she didn’t know the details of the child’s abandonment. In most cases, hospital officials call police and turn the child over after they have been left.

The case receiving the most coverage is of a father of nine who dropped 9 of his 10 children off at the emergency room at the Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha last month.

His life just “fell apart”.

That’s the word from out-of-work widower Gary Staton who spoke to KETV –TV Omaha, about why he abandoned his nine children at a hospital under Nebraska’s new safe haven law.

“I hope they know I love them,” he said. “I hope their future is better without me around them.”

Many pre-teens and teenagers that have been left by families at Nebraska hospitals over the last several weeks have severe behavioral problems or mental illness, according to Omaha World-Herald.

Several of the families sought help for out-of-control or violent kids, and were met unsuccessfully, reports the newspaper.

The debate now centers on the sufficiency of services available for families that have troubled kids. Advocates claim, a lack of resources prevents families from receiving the help they need. #


Anonymous User
Posted by John
Wednesday, October 08, 2008 5:16 PM EST

Nebraska... a RED republican state all the way...!

And are THESE the family values we should all aspire to?

Family values my ass. Sure, don't abort the little dears but abandon them later in life when you back-asswards republican parents can't bare to actually be parents!


Anonymous User
Posted by Marie
Monday, October 13, 2008 2:23 PM EST

I'm voting for Obama. John is an a**hole.

Anyways, the law is only for children up to the age of 17 - they won't accept anyone 18 years or older. The man who abandoned nine children still had his 18 year old daughter...who saw him leaving with his girlfriend after he abandoned the kids.

He's had a history of being terribly irresponsible, and the children were actually taken away from him and his wife before by Social Services. His wife seemed to have had mental problems that were never addressed.

Anonymous User
Posted by heather
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 3:29 PM EST

What happens with these kids after there dumped off? Do they end up in a juvinile home until there 18? You know I was given up at the age of 15 - and thats where they kept me - and said I would more than likely have to stay there until I was 18 due to people not wanting to adopt a teenager. Well here I was stuck in this place that felt like a jail - and was not allowed to go to school!!! Sure once or twice a week they would tudor kids for a short period of time - but this doesn't get you a diploma. I wanted to go to school - I also wanted a family that wanted me. This eventualy turned me to running away - many times. As a teen in this possition you think well they've already taken basically everything from me - there's really nothing left. Then it's dealing with all the hell on the streets - god the freaks that go after young girls and people you would never suspect taking advantage of the situation...it was a nightmare..then I just became independant on my own - started working and moving forward. I think the system got tired of keeping track of me. But if there going to keep these kids in a juvinile facility - LET THEM GO TO A REAL SCHOOL TO GET EDUCATED!!!!! I'm sure many people are not even aware of how things really work for teens. It's sad. I think if the state wants to help - and aproves of parents dropping kids off - they should not take the childs education in a real school from the kids - hell they've lost everything else. Don't let them down with there education. Don't lock them up like criminals.

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