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Nebraska- 11 year old Florida dumped Wednesday afternoon, and the NE DHHS case summaries

This is the latest in a series of posts I have done criticizing Nebraska’s legalized child abandonment laws. You can find my earlier posts via my Nebraska tag.


Another day, another out of state dump, this time, a boy from Florida.

The AP has an article out, just a couple hours old at this point, 11-year-old boy is 31st Nebraska ‘safe haven’ case.


 Todd Landry, director of children and family services for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the boy’s father left him at Boys Town National Research Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

The latest Nebraska DHHS summary of the officially counted dump cases (link opens a PDF) lists the boy as being from Miami-Dade County, FL. How he was transported to Nebraska remains to be seen.


Also, here on the eve of the beginning of the special session, Nebraska DHHS has compiled a chart detailing some basic statistics on their official count (link opens a PDF) now at 31 though the chart only covers the first 30 .

The chart while not counting a number of attempted “safe haven” and self “haven” cases, is still an incredibly useful tool.

For example, we learn 11 of the 30 were either adopted/guardianship or relative placements, what I had been terming “returns department” dumps. 17 of the kids have been previously or currently are state wards.

28 of the kids have endured prior allegation(s) of abuse neglect.

Perhaps most importantly, NONE of these kids were at risk of immediate harm.

The chart shows check marks alongside all 30 kids as assessed as safe from immediate harm, though the tabulation at the bottom of the page reads 29 instead of all 30. If the raison d’etre for the dump law was to protect kids from immediate harm, the Nebraska case study shows a unanimous failure.

27 of the kids had experienced some level of prior mental health services. 7 had had prior mental health treatment listed as “higher than outpatient”.

27 of the kids came from single parent homes.

As to the dumps themselves, 25 of them came in on weekends after 4pm. (this was precisely the pattern Marley/Bastardette and I were noting.)


  • 11 are in foster care
  • 8 are in a relative’s home
  • 6 are in the temporary emergency shelter
  • 2 are in hospitals
  • 1 is in a group home (* see below)
  • 1 is in a treatment group home
  • and one kid has returned to their own home

Going by the check marks on the chart, 9 are classified as “Black, 1 is classified as “White/Native”, and 20 are classified as “White”, and “. (The summary at the bottom of the chart says “8 Black, 1 White/Native, 20 White” which only adds up to 29, not 30.)

(I’m unclear on how the Staton kids are being classified, apparently as mostly “White” though that has been an important question, see my piece Nebraska- the Staton abandonment and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) for further discussion of such and how the Staton abandonment raises questions of Nebraska’s ICWA obligations.)

Both Marley/Bastardette and I have been working up our own tabulations statistically, particularly as relating to the number of child dumps that Nebraska is refusing to count in the official tally.

The official count now stands at 31, our count now stands at 42. (See my earlier piece Nebraska- another ghost in the machine dump (unoffical total 41, the official count reaches 30 for further details.) roughly 1/4 of the abandonment cases are not included in the state’s tally.

We had been tracking many of the same kinds of details about the case studies (whether in the official count or not,) particularly some of the outcomes on the out of state dumps and the 18 year olds.

Allow me a few examples to scratch the surface of just a few of the more interesting ‘undercounts’ and possibly incorrectly tabulated:

  • The plight of the 18 year old uncounted Grand Island self “haven” boy- Therapist: Safe-haven hubbub shows families need respite help
  • * The Iowa dumpee who after being shipped back to Iowa by Nebraska (a “return to sender” out of state dump) went on to become a teen runaway, Girl now a runaway after safe-haven stint and ‘Safe haven’ runaway found, police say. Being 14, she was included in the official count, (she was the initial out of state dump case.) Nebraska shipped her back home to Iowa ASAP so as to avoid the precedent of out of state kids being able to land in the Nebraska system. You tell me, does it sound like she got the help she needed? As I don’t see ‘teen runaway’ under the options listed in the “current placement” column, she is clearly being counted as something else. The second article says she had been ” placed in a home for troubled youths” prior to running away, so perhaps she is still inaccurately being counted as being in a “group home?”
  • Here, for example is yet another 18 year old abandonee left out, not in the official tabulation- Two more teenagers dropped off.

The list of examples goes on and on. My point is, many are not even in the stats and of those that are, Nebraska may for example think the Iowa girl is still in a group home outcome when in fact she’s been a runaway.

It’s a disaster, and the actual follow up with the kids seems to not fully be in place even on the 42 cases to date.

Perhaps Nebraska legislators would care to deal with the mess they’ve already created before they go creating yet still more (and a whole new class of) dumped kids?

Aging down to newborns under dump law 2.0 cannot and will not deal with the fundamental flaws and problems inherent to all legalized child abandonment laws.


Repeal the dump laws now.

Nebraska’s record of failure is no foundation to build upon.


Addendum- just as I came to the end of this post, I ran across the Omaha World-Herald’s piece, There are common threads in haven drop-offs. Apparently they’ve been crunching the numbers provided by the Nebraska DHHS as well.

According to the article:

HHS officials provided the analysis, along with a letter, to state senators Wednesday.

Here are the key sentences:

Nebraska’s law was intended to protect children in immediate danger of being harmed, Landry said in the letter to senators. The HHS analysis found no threat of immediate harm in any of the 30 cases.


“The role of the state’s child welfare system is to protect children who are fundamentally unsafe,” Landry said. “For children or youth who are otherwise safe, it is not the role of the state to intervene in a family’s life.”

So the only question that remains is, will Nebraska state legislators listen to those most intimately acquainted with the dump law;

  • the kids themselves
  • child welfare experts
  • Nebraska’s own DHHS
  • parents and other relatives
  • adoptee rights experts
  • First Nations peoples’ ICWA concerns
  • etc

or will they continue on, closing their eyes, covering their ears, hell bent upon their fantasy of making the dump law “work?”

One can only hope cooler heads will prevail.

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