Baby Love Child banner

Nebraska Lawmakers Form Task Force on the Legalized Child Abandonment law & child welfare issues

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!


Looks like between now and the January session, a subset of Legislators with a variety of other “experts and children’s advocates” will be working to retool some of Nebraska’s children’s services in relation to the dump law.

We saw many hints that this was coming in Monday’s hearing of the Judiciary Committee. State Senator Brad Ashford who Chairs the committee repeatedly turned to witnesses during the public testimony and asked them to come up with “plan” over the next 60 days insisting, (to paraphrase, as I do not have the direct quote transcribed) we’re just Legislators, what do we know?

One really has to wonder whether any adults who were abandoned as kids, former state wards, and adoptees are going to be part of this process or whether it will simply be dominated by precisely the kinds of voices we heard at Monday’s Judiciary Committee hearing. (With one exception, Lyman Wostrel.)

Maybe rather than starting out from the point of deciding what’s best for kids in these positions, they would do well to actually listen directly to those who have been in these positions themselves.

Oh, but wait, other than the first generation of kids who were dumped in Nebraska, there are almost no “safe haven” kids old enough to speak about their own interests. After all, the first of the dump laws passed in Texas a mere nine years ago. So the voices of direct experience when it comes to dump laws, other than Nebraska’s dumped teens are at their oldest, nine year olds.

No doubt that would make for interesting task force meetings.

In any case, here’s today’s Omaha World-Herald article announcing the formation of the new task force, At-risk children getting new attention:

Six state senators and more than two-dozen experts and children’s advocates soon will try to craft new legislation to help the state’s at-risk children.

A new task force to be headed by State Sen. Amanda McGill of Lincoln was announced today.

Other senators involved: Annette Dubas of Fullerton, Tim Gay of Papillion, Gwen Howard of Omaha, Arnie Stuthman of Platte Center and Dave Pankonin of Louisville.

Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, while not a member of the task force, will be involved as well, McGill said.

Perhaps rather than fully reinventing the wheel, they would care to spend some time looking through the Nebraska Children’s Behavioral Task Force report I first stumbled across mentioned here, Teens dumped in Nebraska: We all need to pay attention.

For that matter the Nebraska DHHS Research and Statistical Data page makes for some interesting late night reading. I’m certainly not suggesting Nebraska DHHS is the end all and be all, I’m merely pointing out that at least some basic data collection is preexisting.

Here are some bios of the “task force” Legislative members:

Sen. Amanda McGill (D*)

Sen. Annette Dubas (D*)

Sen. Tim Gay (R*)

Sen. Gwen Howard(D*)

Sen. Arnie Stuthman (R*) (Author of, and foremost supporter of Nebraska’s dump bill)
Sen. Dave Pankonin (R*)

Sen. Brad Ashford (R*)

What Nebraska does not need is a ‘blue ribbon task force on how to find new and improved ways to abandon babies.

What it needs is and actual working group that first and foremost decouples getting families or women help from the act of child abandonment, as the ‘cost’ of accessing services should never be the child’s permanent loss of family, context, and origins.

Any working group serious about child welfare has to start from the premise that child abandonment is bad, not good, and not something to be promoted and enabled by the state. Any ‘task force’ that fails to start there is building upon a shattered foundation, and is by it’s very nature not addressing the legislation from a child centric point of view.


* Note this section from the Ballotpedia entry on the Unicameral and party affiliation:


Members are selected in nonpartisan elections. Rather than separate primaries held to choose Republican, Democratic, and other partisan contenders for a seat, Nebraska uses a single nonpartisan primary election, in which the top two vote-getters are entitled to run in the general election. There are no formal party alignments or groups within the Legislature. Coalitions tend to form issue by issue based on a member’s philosophy of government, geographic background, and constituency. However, almost all the members of the legislature are affiliated with the state affiliate of either the Democratic or the Republican party and both parties explicitly endorse candidates for legislative seats. The unofficial partisan makeup of the Nebraska Legislature is 31 Republicans, 15 Democrats, and 3 Independents.

Leave a Reply