Saturday, November 15, 2008


I don't know if you've heard about what's going on in Nebraska these days, but here's a short intro:

Nebraska passed a safe haven law that didn't include any age restrictions. About a month ago, a widowed father dropped off 10 of his 11 children saying, "I just can't raise them anymore on my own." The children ranged in age from 1-17.

Since then, as Nebraska law makers have tried to re-write the law in a way that specifies that only INFANTS (up to 30 days) fall under safe haven laws, 34 children (all over the age of 10), have been dropped off at Nebrasak hospitals. Many of these teens are from single parent homes and many of them suffer from mental illness that their parents were unable to get treatment for. Some have been flown in from places such as Florida, and Georgia.On the news last night, one of the nurses at the hospital was quoted saying that the teens were often left crying out, "I promise I'll be better! I promise I'll try! Please love me! Please don't leave me!"

The situation, no matter how you look at it, is heartbreaking. It is heartbreaking for the children who have been abandoned, who have been essentially told, "I can't take care of you," or "I don't love you." It is heartbreaking that families can't get care for their children and feel like abandoning them is the only choice that they have.

As I have watched, I have observed several things, and have more questions that I want your opinion on.

Has the media helped the situation by alerting the nation to the failings of the mental health system or have they made it worse by making it national knowledge that you can "safe haven" your teenager enabling children from other states to be dropped off?

Where's the root of the failure? Is it the law that didn't specify age? Is it the family that abandons the child? Is it government who didn't provide appropriate care for these children in a timely manner? Is it the parent who didn't know how to properly parent the teen when it was younger? Is it society who abandoned the family so that it felt that it had no options?

Please, leave some comments.