Unique Law Leaves Teens Abandoned

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An 11-year-old Florida boy was the latest drop off in Nebraska under the state's "safe haven" law that has allowed dozens of children to be abandoned since it took effect in July.

The state's law allows parents to leave a child at a licensed hospital without explanation and, as long as the child shows no signs of abuse, without prosecution.

CBN News reporter Charlene Israel is in Omaha, Neb. She asked residents what they thought about the law that has put their state in the national spotlight. Click play for their comments.

The law was originally intended to protect unwanted newborns from being abandoned. But to gain enough support for passage, it was changed to not specify an age limit.

Since it took effect, at least 31 children have been dropped off --most of them adolescents.

"This was never the intent of the bill," Sen. Arnie Stuthman, who co-wrote the legislation, said. "We really opened a can of worms. We have a mess."

Lawmakers have called a special session to put a stop to the abandonments. If approved, the law's wording would be changed to apply only to newborns.

Safe haven laws exist in 47 states and Puerto Rico, but they vary greatly.

 For more on safe haven laws across the U.S., click here.

Recent Safe Haven Drop Offs in Nebraska:

  • Sept. 13: Two boys, 11 and 15
  • Sept. 20: 13-year-old girl.
  • Sept. 24: Two 15- and 11-year-old boys, and nine siblings, ages 1 to 17.
  • Oct. 5: Two 12-year-old boys
  • Oct. 7: 14-year-old girl from Iowa
  • Oct. 13: 13-year-old boy from the Detroit, Mich., area
  • Oct. 22: 17-year-old boy
  • Oct. 25: 12-year-old boy from Smyrna, Ga.
  • Oct. 27: 15-year-old girl
  • Oct. 28: 15-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy
  • Oct. 29: 17-year-old boy
  • Nov. 2: A boy and a girl, both 16
  • Nov. 3: 15-year-old girl
  • Nov. 6: 8-year-old boy from Indiana
  • Nov. 7: 11-year-old girl
  • Nov. 10: 17-year-old boy
  • Nov. 11: 11-year-old boy from Florida

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