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Nebraska- Age it down to ZeroPointZero, (I.E. No kids at all,) put an end to legalized child dumping

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.


I’ve been carefully studying the parameters of what can and cannot be done to the Nebraska dump law during the special session. If I read the Nebraska Special Session Legislative Journal first day summary (link opens a PDF) correctly, (and if their analysis on it is correct), then the legislature’s hands are in many ways tied.

Essentially, all they will be able to pass would be an age limitation on the pre-existing legalized child abandonment law. Programs to help older kids etc would apparently have to be considered separately in the upcoming session next January.

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman in defining the goal of the special session so narrowly, has made it all but impossible for state legislators to do anything until the regular session to actually help these families in need. No matter how much legislators want to tackle the problem and build solutions, the narrow definition apparently means nothing can be done in the special session.

That said, this then provides a genuine opportunity to finally decouple getting kids and families help from child abandonment. If there’s nothing that legislators can do in the special session other than tackle the age limit, then the best thing they can do is put an end to legalized child abandonment, take abandonment out of the equation all together as the ‘costs’ of even trying to get a kid help must never be the world they’ve known, their family, friends, school, and home.

But ultimately Kids and families are not getting the help they need with the legalized abandonment law, doubly so for the 12 “attempted abandonments” not even counted in the official Nebraska tabulation. For those 12 kids, they have been by and large shit-outta-luck, to the point of even being written out of the official history. For them, the Nebraska “haven” was anything but.

The very reason the law was passed in the first place was allegedly to protect kids in immediate danger, yet none of the kids surrendered were found to be in danger of immanent harm by Nebraska’s own DHHS.

Further, the existing law, as we’ve documented here in these blog posts in excruciating detail causes additional harm.

Rather than a second failed attempt at an aged down dump law, (a dump law 2.0) and a missed opportunity, it’s time for Nebraska legislators to take the lead. Join Washington D.C. in being a real haven for kids, where no children can be dumped legally.

Age the dump law down to 0.0.

Within the parameters the Governor has set out, that would be the closest in practice legislators could fashion to full, permanent repeal until January. It would put on the age cap the governor has mandated, but also stop the practice of legalized child dumping in Nebraska.

Any other age limit is arbitrary.

Some kids would be dumpable, some would not. (Just as currently, many arbitrary decisions are being made about which kids will be accepted and which are being rejected.)

Zero point zero is the only way for Nebraska to ensure all kids receive “Equality Before the Law”

ZeropointZero is the only way to be fair. It ensures all Nebraska’s children are treated equally.

Any other age limit artificially creates multiple tiers of differing treatment under Nebraska law.

Speaking as an adoptee from a State with multiple tiers of records access, I can explain in no uncertain terms what it means to be treated differently merely because my birthdate falls on an arbitrarily determined side of an artificially created line. It has meant living daily with the realities of unequal treatment under law.

What kids desperately need now is an advocate, a legislator willing to stand up for them and present a Zero point Zero bill.

As things currently stand in the special session, not one legislator has introduced any form of bill to end the practice of child dumping. The clock is ticking. As I’ve said over and over again, every single day a dump law is on the books is bad for kids.

How many more kids are going to have to undergo legalized abandonment before someone in a position to actually change their circumstances finally stands up to say “enough!”?

Worse, how many more kids are going to have to undergo legalized abandonment under dump law 2.0 as a result of an arbitrarily thrown together piece of legislation that was less than a week from introduction to being enacted?

Kids deserve better than abandonment, at any age.

Zero out the dump law!

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