Father Leaves 9 Kids Under Safe Haven Law
Law Lets Caregivers Leave Children Without Prosecution
POSTED: 9:10 am EDT September 25, 2008
UPDATED: 12:08 pm EDT September 25, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. -- Officials in Nebraska say a father abandoned nine children at a hospital Thursday night under the state's new Safe Haven law.
The children, ages 1 to 17, were left at Creighton University Medical Center, KETV in Omaha reported. State officials said all nine were physically fine, and authorities had no information on why their father left them.
Officials said the man won't be charged because of the state's Safe Haven law, which allows caregivers to leave any child under the age of 19 at a state-licensed hospital without fear of prosecution.
This is the fourth such case involving children ages 11, 13 and 15 since the law went into effect in July.
In the wake of children being abandoned by their parents, Nebraska officials planned to try Thursday to clarify the new law, which was initially intended to protect infants before state lawmakers amended it to include older children and teenagers.
Lawmakers said the case illustrates a problem many feared when the law was passed -- that parents might be tempted to abandon teens not because of any real danger, but simply because they can't control them.
Health and Human Services officials, adoption experts and charity groups planned a joint news conference to outline alternatives for families who are struggling with parenting issues