September 24, 2008
Does Junior have a sour attitude? Tired of his aberrant adolescent behavior? Just drop him off at a local hospital to become a ward of the state. That's right. No need to ground him for attending that raucous party last weekend. Of course, you may have to move to Warren Buffett's neighborhood to pull this off. A three-month-old Nebraska law allows parents and legal guardians to leave a "child" at any state-licensed hospital without fear of prosecution. And that's just what happened last week when two different families surrendered their boys-ages 11 and 15-to Lincoln's BryanLGH Medical Center West. Just last night, a father left all nine of his children, ages 1 to 17, at Creighton University Medical Center. Does this mean that mom and dad can ditch surly kids to go on vacation? Gadfly sure hopes not. Most states have laws to protect infants from overwhelmed parents but Nebraska's take is a disturbing development; "child," according to Cornhusker State law, includes all minors up to the age of 19. Parenting doesn't come with an escape clause and Nebraska's new law is an outrageous attempt at one. Maybe Junior isn't the only one who needs an attitude adjustment.
"2 boys left at Neb. hospitals under 'haven' law," by Jean Ortiz, Associated Press, September 15, 2008
"Father leaves 9 children under safe haven law," KETV 7, Omaha, September 25, 2008