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  1. #1
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    Default 16 Nebraska children abandoned since July

    Just caught a snippet of this today on the news. Apparently, even parents from other states are taking advantage of the law.

    http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2008...ed-since-july/

    'Safe haven' law allows parents to drop off teens
    By Timberly Ross Associated Press
    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    OMAHA, Neb. -- When Nebraska lawmakers passed a unique "safe-haven" law that allowed parents to abandon children as old as 18, they never seriously thought such dropoffs would become common.



    But their worst fears have come true: At least 16 children, some of them teenagers, have been abandoned since the law took effect in July. Now elected officials are considering revising the law, and at least one anguished parent said he only surrendered his kids because he felt he had no choice.

    "If we see another family being left off, then we're going to have to do something immediately," said state Sen. Arnie Stuthman, who introduced legislation that was the basis for the law.

    Stuthman said lawmakers need to set a maximum age for children who can be handed over to the state, and he's not sure whether it can wait until the Legislature reconvenes in January.

    But it's not clear whether Gov. Dave Heineman will call a special session to modify the law, even though he has said it should be changed.

    For now, the law permits caregivers to abandon children at state-certified hospitals without fear of prosecution. It was intended to protect infants, but was amended to include the word "child," which isn't defined. So some have concluded the law covers all minors, which in Nebraska includes anyone under the age of 19.

    The latest example happened Wednesday, when an out-of-work widower left nine of his 10 children at an Omaha hospital, saying he was overwhelmed by family responsibilities.

    Gary Staton went to Creighton University Medical Center to surrender his five sons and four of his daughters, who ranged in age from 1 to 17. He did not bring his oldest daughter, 18.

    Staton's wife died in early 2007, shortly after giving birth to their 10th child. The man told police he hasn't worked since July and was struggling to make ends meet.

    "I was with her for 17 years, and then she was gone. What was I going to do?" Staton said to Omaha television station KETV. "We raised them together. I didn't think I could do it alone. I fell apart. I couldn't take care of them."

    Calls by The Associated Press to a number listed for Staton went unanswered Friday.

    A number of relatives have volunteered to take the Staton siblings, said Kathie Osterman, a spokeswoman for the state department of Health and Human Services. She said the children may be temporarily placed with those family members until a judge decides on permanent custody.

    Osterman said Staton never asked relatives for help.

    Todd Landry, director of the division of Children and Family Services, said the safe-haven law was designed to help children who are in danger, but none of the kids who were dropped off had been in harm's way.

    In addition to Staton's kids, two unrelated boys were left Wednesday at a different Omaha hospital.

    Landry said he empathizes with parents who struggle to raise their families, but "it is the job of a parent to be a parent." He said there are resources to help them.

    James Blue, president and CEO of the Lincoln-based nonprofit Cedars, which works with abused and neglected children, said he's been inundated with calls ever since the safe-haven law took effect.

    He said the group gets more than 10 calls a day from struggling parents, and its temporary shelter is at its capacity of 15.

    "While this (law) has, I think, exposed an underbelly of our society of families that are dropping teenagers off forever at a hospital, it has also given a message to families that there is help out there," Blue said.

    He said it's important for the state to have a safe-haven law, but there needs to be an age limit for the children who are left behind.

    Nebraska lawmakers tried for years to pass the law, and they succeeded this year only after intense debate. Senators worried that an age limit was too arbitrary and that it might endanger youngsters who were just a week too old.

    "It does open a door to older children being left off," Sen. Gwen Howard said during debate of the bill. But she added: "I don't see that being a problem."

    She acknowledged Friday that the lack of an age limit had become an issue, but insisted it offers the state an opportunity to reach out to struggling families.

    "We need to look at the bigger picture of what's going on with parents and children," Howard said.

    Sen. Ernie Chambers, who cast the lone vote against the law, said Friday that lawmakers will be forced to revisit a bad bill.

    "I knew it would have broad results, and they would have to come back and readdress the issue," he said.

    Nebraska was the last state to adopt a safe-haven law. Most other states have focused their laws on protecting infants.

    For years, child-welfare experts have disagreed about whether safe-haven laws reduce the total number of abandoned children.

    Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and an opponent of safe-haven laws, said he's never seen anything like what's happening in Nebraska.

    "What we're seeing is the unfolding of a policy that wasn't well thought-out," he said.
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  2. #2
    Unchained Ellen83's Avatar
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    10.06.13 @ 04:30 PM
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    How sad.

    However, I can't help but feel this outcome is better than finding them all shot to death........

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  3. #3
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    12.09.17 @ 08:36 PM
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    I wonder if the concern is more about these older and less adoptable children being left to become wards (and responsiblilities) of the state, or whether they see the wider picture that families can become overwhelmed and that there is either not a good enough support system, or families are not aware of them.


    if 17 infants were abandoned, they would say the law worked.

    nevertheless, if you take on the huge responsiblitly of having 10 children, as in the case of this one family, you should be prepared to take on the responsiblility should one parent not be there, and have you own family and friends support network in place

  4. #4
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    10.23.15 @ 04:49 PM
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    In my mind, this is pride getting in the way of taking care of your responsibilities. No one in his family had heard from him?? Not only that but with the age range and a bit of coordinated effort, the older children could help with the younger children, maybe get part time jobs, etc. Everyone pitches in in situations such as these, the same way families did years ago. Then again, if he has become mentally disabled, perhaps this was the best solution rather than the possible alternative of doing something he'll regret.
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  5. #5
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    08.04.17 @ 11:33 PM
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    Must agree with the comments thus far. Parenting is definitely not easy, that's for sure. It's overwhelming to think that these young lives are dependent on the parent for their survival. It is for me anyways.
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  6. #6
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    07.09.17 @ 07:00 PM
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    What the hell is going on?!?!

    Nebraska health officials say 2nd teenager from another state abandoned at Omaha hospital


    Todd Landry with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services speaks at a news conference in Omaha, Neb., Monday, Oct. 13, 2008 after a Michigan mother drove roughly 12 hours to Omaha, so she could abandon her 13-year-old son at a hospital under Nebraska's unique safe-haven law. "I certainly recognize and can commiserate and empathize with families across our state and across the country who are obviously struggling with parenting issues, but this is not the appropriate way of dealing with them, whether you're in Nebraska or whether you're in another state," said Landry. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
    10-13-2008 8:09 PM
    By JEAN ORTIZ and JOSH FUNK, Associated Press Writers

    OMAHA, Neb. (Associated Press) -- A Michigan mother drove roughly 12 hours to Omaha, so she could abandon her 13-year-old son at a hospital under the state's unique safe-haven law, Nebraska officials said Monday.

    The boy from the Detroit area is the second teenager from outside Nebraska and 18th child overall abandoned in the state since the law took effect in July.

    "I certainly recognize and can commiserate and empathize with families across our state and across the country who are obviously struggling with parenting issues, but this is not the appropriate way of dealing with them, whether you're in Nebraska or whether you're in another state," said Todd Landry, who heads the state's Department of Health and Human Services' division of children and family services.

    There was no sign the boy was in immediate danger before he was abandoned early Monday, but an investigation into the boy's situation was still continuing, Landry said.

    The boy has been placed in an emergency shelter. Landry said the family doesn't appear to have ties to Nebraska and he wasn't sure if the family had sought help in Michigan first.

    State officials have met with the boy's mother, Landry said but wouldn't immediately address her reasons for leaving her son. He said he believed the boy's parents were married but wasn't sure if the father agreed to the decision.

    "Regardless of why or how, our focus remains on the safety of the child," he said.

    Last week, a 14-year-old girl from Iowa was left at an Omaha hospital by her grandparents. The girl has since been returned to her family.

    Nebraska's safe-haven law is unlike similar laws in that it allows anyone, not just a parent, to drop off a child, of any age, at any state-licensed hospital without fear of prosecution for abandonment. The law doesn't absolve anyone of other charges like abuse or neglect.

    In Nebraska, several of the parents or guardians who have left children cited uncontrollable behavioral problems. An out-of-work widower who left nine of his 10 children said he simply felt overwhelmed by his responsibilities. That man, Gary Staton, has asked a judge to allow him to visit his children.

    State officials have stressed that the safe-haven law should be used only for children in immediate danger; some worry the broadly written law could make the state a dumping ground for unwanted children.State officials have said parents and caregivers need to understand there is no guarantee an abandoned child could be returned to them if they change their minds. The have encouraged parents to seek other resources before resorting to abandonment.

    Lawmakers have spoken about the need to re-examine the law, but the Legislature doesn't reconvene until January. Gov. Dave Heineman has been reluctant to call a rare special session.

    Landry declined to comment on whether a special session was needed, but he did say Monday that a new law is needed to specifically address infants in danger. Two children coming from out of state is clear evidence changes are needed, he said.

    "We need to get back to the intent of the law," he said. "The intent of the law was always the protection of newborns in immediate danger of being harmed."

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  7. #7
    Baluchitherium
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    We (okay, I) like dark humor sometimes.... If we're having a particular stressful moment with the kids, I tell my wife, "That's it.... We're going to Nebraska." We laugh and move on.
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  8. #8
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 05:36 PM
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    I guess these would be example 1,245,986 of society going to hell. Leaving 9 of 10 kids for the state to worry about them, damn. Why the hell are you having 10 kids to begin with? Some people just have no sense of responsiblity at all, and it seems most of them have a bunch of kids. They have should add something to that law, if you drop off your kids the mother needs to get her tubes tied, and the father needs to get snipped.

  9. #9
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 07:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by it's me View Post
    I guess these would be example 1,245,986 of society going to hell. Leaving 9 of 10 kids for the state to worry about them, damn. Why the hell are you having 10 kids to begin with? Some people just have no sense of responsiblity at all, and it seems most of them have a bunch of kids.
    I shouldn't think it would take more than 2 or 3 before one is able to figure out that maybe parenting isn't for them - to keep going to 10 is insane.

  10. #10
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    03.10.14 @ 08:22 PM
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    honestly, how can a parent do this to their child? your own flesh and blood? thye think they should change the law? you have 'parents' from other states dropping their kids off in nebraska. what the hell? no restrictions? some people aren't smart enough to hold a spot to let this law pass without certain revisions.

    i could not imagine my mom or if i had kids, doing this to them. unbelievable.

    but then again, parents who know they can't afford or give their kids what they need know what they are doing sometimes.
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  11. #11
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    08.27.17 @ 09:39 AM
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    Why is there a state in this country that even allows this shit to happen? PLUS, the parents need to be fixed like a bitch dog.
    Just go for it!

  12. #12
    Good Enough VH Wahoo's Avatar
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    08.31.15 @ 02:01 PM
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    This is appalling. I can understand having to tighten your belt when you hit some hard times, but to abandon your own flesh and blood is just...unthinkable. (To me, at least).

  13. #13
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    12.07.17 @ 02:51 PM
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    Wow. This is incredibly sad.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    08.04.17 @ 11:33 PM
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    Very sad indeed. I have a 13 year old son and I can't imagine life w/o him. My kids are everything to me. I feel very bad for those kids abandoned by their "parents."
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  15. #15
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    10.23.15 @ 04:49 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    I shouldn't think it would take more than 2 or 3 before one is able to figure out that maybe parenting isn't for them - to keep going to 10 is insane.
    The problem is the mom died and the dad is now mentally distraught and overwhelmed. Not that it makes it okay as it mentioned he did not reach out to his family to get help. Normally, large families with a range of ages have the older kids help out with the younger kids and the oldest is 18. Everyone is expected to pick in. Sounds like perhaps there is more too it with the death of the mom.
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