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Thread: Safe Haven Law
11-21-08, 02:45 PM #1
Safe Haven Law
Lawmakers put 30-day age cap on safe-haven
By Nate Jenkins The Associated Press
Friday, Nov 21, 2008 - 12:55:28 pm CST
LINCOLN �” The surprising and seemingly endless stream of teenagers dropped off at Nebraska hospitals over the last two months likely will come to an end Saturday.
The Nebraska Legislature on Friday gave final approval, with a 43-5 vote, to a bill that puts a 30-day age limit on children who can be dropped off under the state’s safe-haven law.
Gov. Dave Heineman was expected to sign the bill this afternoon, making the law go into effect at 12:01 a.m. CST Saturday. Nebraska will join 13 other states with a 30-day age cap. It has been the only state with a safe-haven law that that lacks an age limit.
“I think this solves the immediate problem of adolescents being abandoned,” said Sen. Kent Rogert of Tekamah. “These kids are old enough to know they’re being dropped off, and that’s not good.”
The law was meant to prevent newborns from being dumped in trash bins or worse.
But it has been used to abandon 35 children at state hospitals since July �” many of them preteens or teenagers as old as 17.
Five of the children have been from other states, including from as far away as Florida and Michigan.
Lawmakers have vowed to address the lack of services for troubled, older youths they say that use of the law has illustrated. The regular legislative session convenes in January.
Parents and guardians who have dropped off the kids have said they have done so because they thought they had nowhere else to turn.
Some parents who have stopped short of dropping off children say they sympathize with those who have.
Therese Guy of Papillion said she became a foster parent to a boy who had previously committed a sexual offense and it took nine months for him to get his mental problems diagnosed.
“I1t was just that booked up to get him into a center,” she said earlier this week. “Don’t change the safe-haven law until you have other changes in place, because it’s helping kids now.”
While there is an outcry by some lawmakers and child-welfare experts for the state to fix a safety net they say is broken, some question how much government can do to solve the problems.
“There are going to be things beyond our reach,” said Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha. “The government can’t replace a parent.”Life is not measured by the breaths we take,its measured by the moments that take our breath away
11-21-08, 02:50 PM #2
In other news, all border crossings into Nebraska have been mysteriously closed until 12:02 am CST Saturday.
11-21-08, 06:57 PM #3
Though if a parent is that much of a douche that they would drop their kid off in Nebraska, I think the kid might be better off in foster care than having a parent like that.CHIRP! CHIRP!
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