Nebraska Closes Loophole on Abandoning Unruly Kids

Lawmakers could set age limitation today
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 21, 2008 10:09 AM CST
Nebraska state senators are discussing a 30-day age limit on children under Nebraska's safe-haven law.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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(Newser) – Nebraska lawmakers today closed a loophole that allowed parents to abandon their unruly teenagers and leave them in state custody, the Omaha World-Herald reports. The original law was meant to allow unwanted infants to be left at hospitals without penalty, but it lacked an age restriction. Since September, 35 children, nearly all them 11 or older, have been dropped off.

One parent left nine of his 10 children after his wife died; other parents have dropped off children with behavioral problems. Critics say the state is missing the root of the problem in failing to help struggling parents, though a state official says 75% of abandoned children were getting government aid. Lawmakers today organized a group to propose solutions for troubled older children.