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Monday’s public testimony before the Nebraska Judiciary Committee recap

(Photo courtesy of the Nebraska Unicameral Information Office)

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.


Please see these two action alerts on what can still be done about the Nebraska dump law, there is still time to demand nothing short of a full repeal/age it down to Zero!


Regrettably, I do not have time to do a full report on Monday’s public testimony before the Judiciary Committee, at least not right now. That said, I did want to backtrack a bit to point readers at some of what’s online by way of recap.

Here is a PDF of the Judiciary Committee Statement from that Monday meeting with the Committee vote tally.

Other Testimony that was not delivered in person but was sent to the committee includes both my own very brief testimony:

Honorable Members of the Nebraska Judiciary Committee,

I am writing to encourage your support of nothing short of fully and permanently repealing Nebraska’s legalized child abandonment law.

I strongly urge you to decouple getting kids and families help from the act of child abandonment.

Due to the structure of the special session itself, if the only option available is to set an age limit on the existing law (LB 157,) I then urge you to set an age cap at zero point zero (i.e. 0.0, such that no children may be legally abandoned in Nebraska.)

Over the last several months I have written at great length, explaining my reasoning as I blogged about the unfolding child welfare catastrophe in Nebraska. My posts can be found my blog’s Nebraska tag here-
Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Lauren Sabina Kneisly

[contact information block removed]

and Bastard Nation:The Adoptee Rights Organization’s important testimony (link opens a PDF). I STRONGLY urge readers to take the time to follow the link and read through it.

A copy of Todd Landry of Nebraska’s DHHS testimony can be found online here.

As I find time, I hope to add other online copies of the publicly submitted testimony. For the moment, this is what I have at my fingertips that are online.

In the mean time, here are a few media reports both on the hearing and on the “Safe Harbor Coalition” action that occurred outside the Capitol.

AP story- Neb. senators told safe-haven law exposes problem

But for many of the roughly 120 people who jammed into a Capitol hearing room Monday, an age cap was secondary to what they said use of the safe haven law has illustrated: A ragged safety net for troubled children that needs to be mended soon.

“We’re trying to decide which hole to put a finger in, meanwhile the whole dike’s falling down around us,” said Topher Hansen, president of the Nebraska Behavioral Health Coalition.

KPTM (Fox/Faux news) Public Speaks out at Safe Haven Hearing

“We have watched hysterical children begging their parents not to leave,” says Ann Schumacher of Immanuel Hospital. “One child pleaded, ‘I’ll be good. I’ll be good I promise.'”

This article also includes the only quotation from a person who had actually been abandoned who spoke before the committee Monday:

“I want you to know that abandonment is a very serious issue that leaves a scar on a person’s life,” says Lyman Wostrel, who was abandoned as a child. “For all my life I know I’ll bear this cross, that what is in my heart, hurts.”

Also from the KPTM piece:

Those parents’ stories have caught the attention of some Nebraskans, who’ve formed what they call The Safe Harbor Coalition.

Members of the new group demonstrated outside the Capitol before Monday’s public hearing. Numerous family organizations are included in the coalition. They say they won’t let senators off the hook in finding a way to help children and teens that need mental and behavioral health care.

“We want to be a resource to support,” says Leslie Byers of the Safe Harbor Coalition. “Once we get past this first step, on to step two of improving the system that not only can Nebraska be proud of, but that our whole nation can be proud of. Because what’s going on here, we’re being watched closely.”

The Safe Harbor Coalition says you can expect to hear more from them as senators debate the issue during next year’s legislative session.

Be sure to see the video off this piece, Safe Harbor Coalition Rallies Outside the State Capitol.

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