Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Nebraska Parents Abandoning Teenagers ...

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Strange but true, I saw this article in the associated press the other day. In Nebraska, they seem to have made an incredible error when they wrote the "Safe-Haven Law" that went into effect this summer, and was meant to protect to lives of newborns, who can be left at any hospital, no questions asked. The law enacted (is the only one in the United States) read "child" instead of "infant" or "newborn" and since July, 26 of the 31 of the children legally abandoned have been aged 11 - 18. When the story was written the state was expecting more abandoned children in reaction to news stories that the law would be rewritten to include an age limit.

Most of the children abandoned at local hospitals have been "difficult" - mentally ill, struggling with delinquency, and five of the youth were from other states. What is terribly sad to me is that these families must be desperate to even consider leaving their children, and did not realize that there are social services out there that could have helped.

What is truly strange, is that one of my daughters happens to be reading "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman, which is a great story about what it means to be "alive" in a society where unwanted teens can be salvaged for their body parts, unless they can survive until their 18th birthday, when they can no longer be unwound.

I have to say that these two stories have made some very interesting dinner conversation this week, not to mention a couple of well-behaved teens!

Photo credit: kr4gin
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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