Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dropping off "unruly" teens - getting rid of your kids!?

Here is an article about the subject I brought up the other day regarding permission given to parents to just drop off their unruly teen because they feel they can't deal with them. The information I provided regarding the state of Kansas allowing this was incorrect, apparently it is Nebraska. Here is an article about it:

By Nathaniel Weixel - "Nebraska this year became the last state in the nation to pass a so-called "safe haven" law designed to protect unwanted infants by allowing parents to legally surrender them at a hospital.

But the law, which took effect July 18, is unlike any other. It allows parents to give up a minor of any age - possibly an unruly teenager - instead of just infants.

Passed in February by the state's nonpartisan Legislature, the law specifies that no person can be prosecuted for leaving any child in the custody of any on-duty hospital employee. While other states set a much lower age limit for children to be left under safe haven laws - the oldest is a year in North Dakota - Nebraska law defines a "child" as anyone up to 19 years old.

State Sen. Pete Pirsch, whose compromise amendment eventually became the law, said using the broad language was intentional, because several senators felt strongly that the safe haven protection needed to be extended to all children.

"In my opinion, the need to pass a safe haven bill outweighed the need for perfect language," Pirsch told "The risk to babies' lives far outweighed the possibility of a few inconvenient circumstances with older children."

Texas passed the first safe haven law in 1999 to protect babies from unsafe abandonment and the possibility of death at the hands of an unfit parent. Since then, safe haven advocates have successfully brought the law to the rest of the nation, with Nebraska and Alaska being the lone holdouts. Both states had safe haven bills signed into law last February, with Nebraska's the last to take effect.

Pirsch said the passage of safe haven bills across the country shows a consensus not often seen in politics.

"It's a clear indication that there are some things that we all agree are critically important," he said. "We love and value the lives of our babies ...we will do what it takes to keep them safe and healthy."

Opponents of safe haven laws - mainly adoption rights advocates and child welfare experts - say they are bothered by how easy the laws make it to abandon children. Adam Pertman, head of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York, said the laws can give "impressionable young women" the idea that dumping a child on someone else is a solution.

"Safe havens are where good intentions have gone awry," Pertman said. "The evidence is they have not, and are not, solving the problem they went out to solve." (Continued here)

No comments: