Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lost Children, Lost Parents

I'm sure you've heard that Nebraska has recently run into some challenges with a law it passed in July. Short story is they agreed their state would be a safe haven, allowing parents to drop children off at hospitals if they were overwhelmed and couldn't care for their child (for more info, go here). The last of the fifty states to pass such a law, Nebraska lawmakers interpreted it quite leniently - defining 'child' as anyone under 18.

Since July, 19 children (22 months to 18 years, I believe), have been dropped off at hospitals. Some parents and grandparents even drove in from out of state to leave their children.

Nebraska's answer was to quickly amend the definition of child to mean anyone 3 days old or younger. This moved their state's definition from the most lenient to the most restrictive.

To do the math for you, none of the abandoned children and their overwhelmed parents would have been allowed refuge under the revised law.

19 children would still be living in a situation that was apparently so overwhelming for their caregivers that they chose to give them away.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but clearly status quo wasn't working for these parents and children.

As a parent myself with an abundance of resources at my fingertips, things feel crazy for me at times. I can't imagine what the parents of these 19 children were facing and how stuck they must have felt.

Something is wrong.

I'm sure we can do better.

What do you think?