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Nebraska babydump- baby to be returned to Mother as case investigation continues

Just a quick update to my July 22nd post, Nebraska- first baby dump after the fiasco and age down.


Within 48 hours, both parents had come forward requesting the return of their child.

This portion in particular, pertains to the infant’s current custody arrangements:

On July 23, under a plan arranged by HHS, Butte Box County Judge Charles Plantz (left) granted legal custody to the agency while the parents undergo genetic testing and psychological assessment. Plantz made it clear in his order that HHS should proceed with its plan to place the baby with his biological mother while its investigation continues. The maternal grandmother is taking a leave of absence from her job to help care for the infant and his mother. The Star-Herald says the grandmother will move into the mother’s home, but the Herald-World says the mother will move into the grandmother’s home. The father will be allowed easy access to the infant.

According to court documents, Larry Miller, the baby’s court appointed guardian ad litem said, “NDHS believes this arrangement will provide safety for the baby.” Hospital officials filed an affidavit in which they said they believe it would be best for the mother and baby to be together so the mom could nurse and bond with him. (Note: court documents are not available to the public; information on them comes from news reports.)

Marley’s post covers many aspects of the dump scheme and points out some of the ways Nebraska is attempting to grapple with the genuine needs of these families in the aftermath of the older kid dumps.

She also brings forth a crucial point from her years of research:

In the nearly 10 years I’ve researched legalized dumping I have not found one single case where a parent or a family member who petitioned for return was denied.

and goes on to explain some of the potential reasons why:

I believe there are two reasons for this:

  • Child welfare workers by in large do not like “safe haven” laws and except when thwarted by legal anonymity laws that binds their hands, hold a higher child welfare standard than do politicians and amateur do-gooders via counseling, education, and informed consent whether the final decision of the parent(s) be reunification, kinship care, temporary foster care, or adoption.
  • The state fears if victims of “safe havening” are not returned, except for good cause, a parent or relative will seek legal redress. Since “safe haven” laws are already dancing on thin ice, the chance of overturning a law on constitutional grounds given the right circumstances in any state, is good. Not only would costly time-consuming litigation be necessary, but if the plaintiff were successful the entire law could be overturned, and adoption placements of safe havened children be vacated. If the case goes up the law ladder far enough, the entire Ponzi scheme could collapse throughout the country. Keeping families in tact post-dump, then, is simply utilitarian even if it is the right thing to do.

For more on the constitutional problems with “safe haven” read Erik L. Smith here and here.

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