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Nebraska Dump Law, just how deep does this rabbit hole go?

(This is the second posting I’ve done about the babydump law in Nebraska. This post builds on the foundation I laid out in my first post, SHAME on Nebraska!- When ‘we told you so,’ barely begins to scratch the surface. I strongly urge readers to read it first before continuing on to this post.)


Or, to mix my metaphors, pull a thread, any thread… .

As always, what should take ten minutes to blog, doesn’t. Taking a minute or two to follow up on some of the links out of any given news article tends to lead deeper and deeper.

It’s not bad enough that Nebraska has become the official national dumping ground for children (up to age 19) whose parents or guardians no longer care to care for them, nope, now as we get a rare peek at the system the dumped kids go into the picture becomes clearer still.

Rather than the state, which has made collection of said little dumplings possible, dealing with the aftermath of the events it set in motion, instead, once the kids are dumped they are outsourced entering into private and non-profit structures for likely ‘reformative therapies’ or redistribution. In essence, the state of Nebraska makes the whole mess possible, then hands off the day to day dealing with the kids to a private non-profit entity.

So by way of ‘a thread’ to pull on, let’s start here, Neb. Law Lets Parents Dump Kids Of Any Age (& see video on left side of page.)

Mere days after the first two Nebraska dumps (two boys aged 11 and 15) we now have two more to report, a 13 year old girl left at a hospital over last weekend and a 12 year old boy who was abandoned at a police station. The latter being important as Police stations are NOT designated dump sites under Nebraska law. Thus the Mother who dumped the boy is now facing charges in civil court (I will blog about that separately, later.)

So the Nebraska dump total is four kids in under a month none of which are under the age of 11.

Shame on Nebraska. Time to dump legislators, not kids.

Apparently Nebraska being the adolescent abandonment capital of the United States is just fine by some legislators:

Neb. State Sen. Brad Ashford says he’s “not surprised,” but has no regrets about the law.

Do these legislators not understand that the state encouraging child abandonment is an act of betrayal of its responsibilities towards some of its most legally vulnerable and politically disadvantaged citizens?

Why, pray tell is Nebraska insistent upon making it as easy as possible to rid oneself of one’s child?

Shouldn’t states instead be making it more difficult to abandon children?

Apparently not.

Reading down through the article another important tiny detail caught my eye:

Kids who are dropped off are brought to an organization called Project Harmony for evaluation, Kauffman explains.

So, by way of pulling a bit more on the thread and continuing to watch the proverbial sweater unravel, we find Project Harmony is a nonprofit, designed to work in partnership with the state. Under normal circumstances, it specializes in dealing with kids in circumstances of sexual and physical abuse and neglect.

Abandoned kids are going to be dealing not with issues of incest or sexual molestation, but with a different sense of profound betrayal, that those closest to them, often parents or other relatives in essence getting rid of them permanently, ending all legal claim to parenting or guardianship responsibilities. (Perhaps after the initial shock wears off, they may also turn their anger towards the state for making such not only possible, but easy.) I know of no program anywhere that specializes in the feelings those kids (up to age 19, remember) are going to be dealing with.

Issues of sexual abuse and legalized abandonment are worlds apart. Trying to adapt programs specializing in the former to occasionally deal with an abandoned kid coming through will only serve to increase the kid’s sense of isolation. Further, I can think of few things more isolating than taking a dumped 15 year old and putting him a room full of stuffed Tiggers and Winnie the Poohs, prior to enduring an interviewing process. As the abandoned kids enter the system one by one, they will have no ‘peers’ to decrease their sense of isolation, square pegs in round holes manufactured for someone else.

The bottom line remains, there are no facilities for dumped teens because until Nebraska did something unbearably stupid, legalize teen abandonment, such was not actively ENCOURAGED by any state.

But sliding the dumpees over to Project Harmony serves another purpose as well. The older dumps are being reframed (just as they were being before the legislation passed) as being ‘at risk of child abuse.’ The false notion/marketing took on the theme that dumping the kids of any age was critical as it would ‘prevent abuse.’ Is it any wonder then, that the initial dumpees under the new law are being passed off into a system that focuses on dealing with abused children? Doing so reinforces the false mythology and enables the lie of these kids as ‘saved’ to go forward, despite the fact that clearly what little of the stories of these kids we’ve seen in the media tell a very different story.

These were not kids in ‘danger’ their lives were not ‘saved’ by being dumped. They were kids their parent or guardians were exasperated with, and refused to deal with any longer. There was no hitting, there was abandoning, an abuse no doubt many of these kids would consider far worse than any hitting.

But the mythology overrides, so off into the land of abused kids and Pooh bears they go.

Where there is no genuine harm or genuine risk, mythologies of potential risks to be ‘saved from’ preventatively are created, so that every dumped child can be reclassified a ‘save’.

To get a feel for the overwrought emotionalism ( & overt religiosity) Project Harmony is apparently willing to utilize, wander over to their media page and click on the Collin Raye Video, “The 11th Commandment,” (though a quick word of caution is in order, those having endured incest or domestic violence may find this video distressing. For that matter, sane people may find the video distressing, just not necessarily in the way the producers intended. Ironic, for an organization supposedly built around the notion that having to retell or re-experience such abuse is to be minimized at every opportunity, it is after all, part of their raison d’etre.)

Project Harmony also has a specific outreach/training focus on Raising Child Abuse Awareness in Faith-based Communities, (not the least bit surprising considering the number of kids who are abused in church or other religious contexts.)

For more of an overview of their program and how interwoven into the community structures Project Harmony is also be sure to see “Speaking of Children” Media Coverage (on the same media page) WOWT’s Heartland Focus. (And don’t even get me started on John Walsh.) As Project Harmony is intentionally co-located with, and interwoven with local state structures they receive:

rental income from Omaha Police Department and Child Protective Services.

It is very intentionally designed to blur the lines between state structures and private non-profit entities, envisioning such as a “partnership”.

Looking more closely at Project Harmony, on its purpose page, we find a list of “partner agencies,” one of which is Child Saving Institute.

Ok time to give that thread another yank and watch the sweater unravel further still. So what’s the “Child Saving Institute?” Well to quote one paragraph from their history page:

Child Saving Institute can trace its origins in the Omaha community to 1892 when Rev. A.W. Clark realized there was more need to help neglected, abandoned children then the men and women he intended to reform. Due to the hazards of pioneer life, epidemics, and poverty, many children were left in need of parental care. With the help of his wife, Sarah, Rev. Clark admitted the first child, a small seven-year-old girl, to the Boys and Girls Aid Society, which he soon changed to the Child Saving Institute. In 1911, with the help of a $25,000 pledge from George Joslyn, the entire Omaha community celebrated the agency’s move to a debt-free, state-of-the-art orphanage. For the next 65 years the agency provided services from that facility including a safe haven for abandoned children, adoption, and a home for unwed mothers.

Well, we’ve certainly come full circle here, haven’t we?

The orphanage and maternity camp of yesteryear still with us in its modern form.

Child Saving Institute, or CSI, maintains many of those same functions, with a program laden with infant adoption, adoption, interracial adoption, fostering, foster adoption, and “pregnancy counseling” (note the block at the bottom of the page, the “success story” result of their “unbiased counseling” is in adoption plan). CSI is ‘one stop shopping, among the services they provide are adoptive parent recruitment and home studies. They are listed among “abortion alternatives” in various directories.

If substance abuse is one of the ‘reasons’ the dumpers dumped the kid, then perhaps Project Harmony will pass the kid along to Child Saving Institute’s Journeys Substance Abuse Treatment program. Agencies accredited through CSI’s program include other non-profits and faith based programs, Catholic Charities for example.

(To gain some useful historical background about the conditions pregnant womyn in Nebraska endured, go take a look at Adoptee grateful for Nebraska Industrial Home. The article also includes a small mention of how in 1953, Child Saving Institute along with the University Hospital, were viewed as a means to pick up the slack when the state finally voted to close the Nebraska Industrial “Home”. Begun in the 1880’s, the Nebraska Industrial “Home” was the first and only state funded maternity camp in the nation at the time.)

Child Saving Institute, has located in a building that formerly housed Women’s Services P.C. clinic, a womyn’s reproductive health clinic that had offered abortions. (Interestingly, CSI also has a Planned Parenthood as a nearby neighbor.)

Finally, as we stand amidst our pile of yarn, contemplating where our sweater (and adoption best practices) went, we return back to the original article, to find what lies at the heart of the matter, the shadow that while constantly present in these dump bills/baby Moses laws one usually only catches fleeting glimpses of, Bill Pierce’s notion of “non-bureaucratic placement”:

Are there alternatives for parents who are having problems with their teenagers at home?

“There are,” Bloom says, “but it’s very difficult. A parent could institute a relinquishment proceeding. But that could take a lot of weeks or even months, a lot of expensive legal bills.

Apparently REAL adoptions are just considered too much of a hassle for some, too much paperwork, too long, too “expensive” for parents to even contemplate.

The instant gratification of washing ones hands of a kid permanently far more desirable.

As to who precisely benefits by such, other than the parents or guardians, and in what ways remains to be fully examined.

The rabbit hole just continues down.


Again, I advocate nothing short of the full repeal of all babydumping/”Safe haven”/baby Moses laws. Kids deserve better than abandonment.

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