As you may be aware, all states have a Safe-Haven Law that allows parents to bring newborn infants to the hospital and leave them, no questions asked. This law makes it possible for a parent who cannot care for her newborn to safely relinquish the infant to a responsible adult. MN Statute 145.902
says ” A hospital licensed under sections 144.50
shall receive a newborn left with a hospital employee on the hospital premises, provided that: The newborn was born within 72 hours of being left at the hospital, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty; and the newborn is left in an unharmed condition,” (https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/getpub.php?pubtype=STAT_CHAP_SEC&year=current§ion=145.902
However, not all states have the same statutes. Nebraska recently passed an open age safe-haven law. Because of this loop-hole in the law (no age limit; child=minor), children old enough to drive are also being left/abandoned. Not only are some parents in Nebraska dropping off their children at hospitals, a few are coming in from other states to do so. Unfortunately, some teens have also been left. The law was made so that any child could be saved, especially those being abused. But because the law does not specify, it allows for anyone to drop and go. “The Nebraska law is the ‘worst-case scenario of unintended consequences,’ says Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a research group. He says it allows parents to walk out on troublesome teens,”(http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-09-25-Left-kids_N.htm
What are some consequences of leaving an older child? Teen? What if a parent has “no other options?” Does it matter if it’s an abusive parent-child relationship? Do you think there should be changes to the Nebraska law? Email me your comments.