September 29, 2008
© Photographer: Jgroup | Agency: Dreamstime.com
Nebraska was the LAST state in the U.S. to pass the "Safe Haven" law for "scared" teenage girls who are encouraged to "drop" their newborn babies off at local hospitals without penalty. What Nebraska lawmakers never counted on, was the mistake of not putting any limits on the ages of the children who could be abandoned without penalty. And POOF, now they have a crisis of sorts ~ where unsupported, frazzled parents & guardians are abandoning teens and pre-teens left & right ~ simply magnifying the problems the U.S. faces already.
Now lawmakers are "backtracking" their decisions and stating that the law was never intended to legalize abandonment of older children ~ only infants. Well, my freaking goodness! Doesn't THAT RIGHT THERE point out the INTENT of the law? They ONLY want fresh meat ~ no stinky kiddo who will be stuck in the foster care system the rest of their childhood, because they are considered "unadoptable" by age. Only fresh, sweet smelling, newborn meat accepted, thank you. The kind that will bring top dollar on the meat(baby)-selling market. The meat that couples drool over and compete over every day in America. The meat that they want to rip immediately from the mother's womb and pretend is their own. I think this law is hilariously SAD and HOPEFULLY Nebraska and the nation will TAKE NOTE and RETHINK the absurdity of these "safe haven" laws nationwide.
The baby who is abandoned has the same worth and right to KNOW their heritage. When a baby is legally abandoned through these unjust laws, both the young mother and the baby are victimized ~ they are USED for a system of supply/demand human baby-selling (adoption) in America ~ without regard to the child's right to an accurate birth certificate and family, medical, genealogical history. They will grow up without that most basic knowledge about themselves. There HAS to be a better way to SUPPORT and PROTECT our most vulnerable. Most mothers who "dump" their newborns will not take advantage of the "safe haven" laws anyway ~ unfortunately, they are too mentally unstable at that point to risk being seen taking their baby to a "safe" dumping place, anyway. Maybe we, as a society, need to EMBRACE and stop SHAMING young mothers when they get pregnant ~ then teens and young mothers will not be so afraid of their parents, schools, and society ~ and will able to joyfully embrace their own motherhood, baby, and the community as a support system that should be a given for mothers, families, & children in the first place...instead of a society which shames & takes for their own agenda.
Neb. Father Talks About Abandoning His 9 Kids
Recent Cases Involving Teens Test Nebraska's Safe Haven Law
September 26, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. -- A Nebraska father who dropped his nine kids off at a
hospital under the state's Safe Haven law is talking about his
Survey: Expanding The Safe Haven Law?
Gary Staton said the mother of nine kids left at an emergency room in
Creighton University Medical Center died from a brain aneurysm 17
months ago, days after delivering the youngest child.
Staton dropped off the kids Wednesday night at 8 p.m., officials at
the Department of Health and Human Services said.
"I was with her for 17 years, and then she was gone. What was I going
to do?" Staton said. "We raised them together. I didn't think I could
do it alone. I fell apart. I couldn't take care of them."
Staton said he was overwhelmed by his family responsibilities and had
to quit his job. He said he couldn't pay the rent or utilities.
"I was able to get the kids to a safe place before they were
homeless," he said.
He said he made the final decision Wednesday to take the children to
Creighton University Medical Center. He said he handed a woman there
the birth certificates and said he was there to surrender his kids.
"I hope they know I love them," he said. "I hope their future is
better without me around them."
Staton and his wife were cited in 2004 for child neglect. An article
in a North High School newspaper quoted Staton's oldest daughter as
saying she graduated at 16, in part to care for her younger siblings.
"I was always feeding kids, checking homework and sending kids to
bed," Amoria Micek was quoted in the paper as saying. "I just don't
have anyone backing me up any more."
The state's Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that an
15-year-old boy was taken to Immanuel Hospital at 5 p.m. and an 11-
year-old boy was taken to the same hospital at 8:30 p.m.
One of the boys was placed in foster care and the other is still at
the hospital undergoing evaluation.
The case brings the total number of children left at Omaha hospitals
during the past 24 hours to 11.
See a report of all Nebraska's Safe Haven Cases
Staton will not be charged because of Nebraska's new Safe Haven law,
which states any child under the age of 19 can be left at a hospital
if they're in immediate danger.
The two additional cases are the fifth and sixth tests of the state's
Before Wednesday, children ages 11, 13, and 15 were dropped off at
hospitals since the law was implemented in July.
State May Revisit Safe Haven Law
Nebraska lawmakers said they may need to clarify the law, which was
intended to protect newborn children, if a parent is overwhelmed.
Further, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman called for an amendment to the
state's Safe Haven law Thursday, saying lawmakers likely wrote the
bill too broad of a stroke.
"I'm absolutely surprised. When this bill was being discussed in the
legislature, we had the discussion that this was going to be about
young children and when they were in immediate danger," Heineman said
at an opening for an early childhood care center in Millard. "Like the
rest of the country, we wanted to be there to help. Unfortunately they
wrote the language too broad. We now need to amend that to change
Heineman urged parents to take advantage of area nonprofits instead of
abandoning children at hospitals.
"I want to continue to encourage parents to really think twice before
you leave your kids at a hospital, unless they're in danger," he said.
Department of Health and Human Services Reacts
Nebraska's Safe Haven law was not intended for those having difficulty
parenting defiant and unruly youths, according to the state's
Department of Health and Human Services.
Thus, they may still be charged.
"There seems to be a misconception that when a child is dropped off at
a hospital, the parents are absolved of responsibility. That couldn't
be further from the truth," said Toddy Landry, director of the
Division of Children and Family Services in Department of Health and
Landry said in a press release Thursday that the courts will get
involved in the lives of families who drop off children.
He said courts are likely to require parents and guardians to
participate in parenting classes, family therapy, conflict resolution
or other services and may order child support payments while they are
in state custody.
"I am very concerned about the situations we've seen so far. I
empathize with parents who aren't sure where to turn, but I want to
encourage those families to use other options before taking the
drastic step of abandoning a child," Landry said in the release.
Other options include community support groups, crisis hot lines,
treatment centers or other services. Faith-based community services
can also be a source of support, Landry said.
"Get the help before you get so desperate to where you drop off your
kids at the hospital," said April Blevins, of Lutheran Family Services.