Topic: Making Decisions
Even with the best of intentions, lawmakers and social service agencies can find it difficult to protect vulnerable children. Those of us who live near the Omaha-Lincoln, Nebraska metro have gotten a stark reminder in the last couple of weeks.
Not long ago NE lawmakers passed a law to protect infants who might be abandoned by their birth mothers. At least, that was the intent. Apparently, some had fears that the law would be misused by distraught parents of older children. The wording technically allowed children up the age of 19 to be dropped off at any hospital with parents not being held responsible for abandoning their children. There would be no questions asked, according to the plan.
In the past two weeks, almost 20 children have been dropped off--9 in one family, when their overwhelmed father decided he was unable to cope with the children after their mother died a year or two ago. Then, heaven forbid, the courts and the Dept. of Human Services couldn't agree on where the kids should live. Sleeping two to a bed, even in a loving relative's home, the courts said, wasn't good for the kids--even if it was a temporary arrangement and even if the home had been approved by DHS. So the kids, already in grief from losing a mother, were footballs. All because we haven't learned how to be a "village" who cares for our children emotionally.
It will take time, but people are working on the problem. Somehow trying to keep children (and, in this case, a father) from being left out, unaware that there are safe places they can go when life throws them a curve they cannot manage.