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Nebraska Children's Home Society opposes safe havens

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  • Nebraska Children's Home Society opposes safe havens

    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?n...d=531813&rfi=6

    NE Children's Home Society opposes safe havens


    Families gather for a celebration of adoption
    by Diane Wetzel, The North Platte Telegraph
    11/14/2004

    Nebraska is one of only three states in the nation that does not have a Safe
    Haven law on the books.

    Bob Brandt, executive director of Nebraska Children's Home Society, thinks
    that is the way it should stay.

    "Nebraska is not behind when it comes to legislation," Brandt said. "We are
    ahead."

    In theory, Safe Haven laws will prevent newborns from being dumped by
    panicked mothers and left to die. A mother can leave a newborn with a
    hospital or police department without prosecution.

    Safe Haven laws got their start in Texas. The law allows "a parent or other
    person who is entitled to possess a child 30 days old or younger" to
    voluntarily leave that child in the possession of an emergency-care
    provider. The abandoner is legally immune to prosecution. During 1999-2000
    the trend to pass this type legislation spread across the county.

    Brandt said he is opposed to Safe Haven legislation, which allows a newborn
    to be "legally abandoned."

    "It gets a little uncomfortable to oppose these laws, but for the past three
    years, as director of NCHS, I have," Brandt said.

    "Babies are still being abandoned. The law doesn't examine the psyche of
    those who abandon their babies. We have to realize that it isn't happening
    that way."
    Brandt told the group that mothers who will abandon their newborns will not
    think about a law that prevents prosecution if they give their child to an
    emergency care provider.

    "Safe Haven laws are a way to circumvent adoption laws and have unintended
    consequences."

    Brandt said the legislation was going to hit again this year.

    "It's going to be tougher this year because we lost a baby."

    Brandt was referring to a two-day-old infant discovered abandoned in a canal
    near the Elkhorn River in Norfolk last June. Norfolk businesses raised funds
    to provide a casket and flowers.

    Nebraska Children's Home Society has a long tradition of putting children
    first. Founded in 1893, the NCHS is unique because no fees are charged. The
    group is the largest adoption agency in Nebraska.

    "We are not looking for children for parents," Brandt said. "We're looking
    for good homes for children."

    Brandt was in North Platte Thursday night for a celebration for National
    Adoption Month.

    Giggles and cookies started out the evening as area families gathered for a
    celebration of adoption.

    The Great Plains Area Adoption Association sponsored the event. The
    invitation was extended to all members of the family of adoption. Adoptive
    parents and birth mothers mingled over cake and punch. While children played
    games, Brandt discussed Safe Haven legislation with the group.

    Brandt said that in 2000, the state of New York, which does have safe haven
    legislation, had 19 newborns reported under Safe Haven. In Nebraska, during
    the same time period, 53 at-risk cases that fit high risk for abandonment
    were helped by the NCHS. The NCHS uses an 800 number, staffed by a
    caseworker around the clock, and will have billboards up all over the state
    this month. Of those 53 cases, 33 were hospital referrals, 18 were calls
    from the client themselves, and physicians referred two.

    "Our philosophy is if you are going to bolt, bolt." Brandt said. "We will
    provide safe care for your baby."

    Thirty-three of the 53 cases came back after a day or two and sat down with
    caseworkers from NCHS to talk about options for the baby. Twelve decided to
    parent the baby with supervision.

    "I hope society doesn't get to the point where they think abandonment of a
    child is a good thing," Brandt said. "We must get the word out that there is
    safe help. We think we have laws that allow us to protect the babies."






  • #2
    Nebraska Children's Home Society opposes safe havens

    >Subject: Nebraska Children's Home Society opposes safe havens
    From: "Marley Greiner"Date: 11/14/2004
    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?n...AG=461&dept_id
    =531813&rfi=6
    "It gets a little uncomfortable to oppose these laws, but for the past threeyears, as director of NCHS, I have," Brandt said.
    "Babies are still being abandoned. The law doesn't examine the psyche ofthose who abandon their babies. We have to realize that it isn't happeningthat way."
    Brandt told the group that mothers who will abandon their newborns will notthink about a law that prevents prosecution if they give their child to anemergency care provider."Safe Haven laws are a way tocircumvent adoption laws and have unintendedconsequences."
    Well said, thanks for sharing Marley

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