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14 Oct, 2008 14:50

Michigan mother dumps son under new law

Michigan mother dumps son under new law

A Michigan mother drove to Omaha so she could leave her 13-year-old son at a hospital under the state's unique safe haven law. That’s according to officials in Nebraska, where 18 children, including two from outside the state, have been abandoned since th

“I certainly recognise and can commiserate and empathise with families across our state and across the country who are obviously struggling with parenting issues, but this is not the appropriate way of dealing with them, whether you're in Nebraska or whether you're in another state,” Todd Landry from the state's Department of Health and Human Services' division of children and family services told the LA Times.

There was no sign the boy was in immediate danger before he was abandoned early Monday, but an investigation into the boy's situation was continuing, Landry added.

The boy had been placed in an emergency shelter. Landry said the family didn’t appear to have ties to Nebraska and he wasn't sure if the family had sought help in Michigan first.

Meanwhile, Nebraska officials have met with the boy's mother, but she didn't elaborate on her reasons for leaving her son.

Nebraska's safe-haven law is unlike similar laws in other states. It allows anyone, not just a parent, to drop off a child, of any age, at any state-licensed hospital without fear of prosecution for abandonment.

State officials have repeatedly stressed that the safe-haven law should be used only for children in immediate danger. Some worry the broadly written law could make the state a dumping ground for unwanted children.