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Chicago- 3 year old boy dumped, by aunt called up for military service

By means of trying to get caught up on some of the stories that have happened while the Haitian mess has been unfolding, see Woman abandons boy at firehouse from back on February 9th:

A woman who abandoned her alleged 3-year-old nephew at a firehouse Monday night, told firefighters there she was in the military and on her way to catch a flight to Virginia.


She told firefighters the boy was her nephew and his mother–the woman’s sister–left the child with her three days ago and failed to pick him up, said Kubiak, citing a preliminary police report. The woman said her flight to Virginia was scheduled to leave at 11:30 p.m. Monday and she could no longer care for him, Kubiak said.

Under Illinois’ “safe haven” law, parents or guardians can legally leave a child up to 1 month old at a designated place such as a hospital, fire or police station–well under the age of the abandoned boy. Charges could be brought against the person who abandoned him.

Clearly, a three year old toddler does not qualify under Illinois’ babydump law which currently only accepts infants up to 30 days old.

Again, we have yet another example of why  emergency child care or temporary timeout alternatives to the dump bills are so vital.  Had the child’s mother had access to a longer term emergency child care facility geared solely towards the well being of the family and a support program aimed at taking care of her child until she was in the position to do so herself, she likely would not have abandoned the boy to her sister who was preparing to leave the country on Military service.

Now instead, we have a child abandoned twice in the course of a week.

The Aunt was forced into a position of dump the child or face a likely court martial for failure to appear for her call up for duty. Now, as she attempted to utilize the dump law, which the boy clearly does not qualify under, she may face charges.

The answer is not to age up the dump law as some of the commenters on the article advocate. Nebraska already tried that, only to age it back down to an age wherein the kids abandoned under Nebraska’s dump scheme cannot speak out or defend their own interests.

A real answer would involve building social support structures focused upon ensuring women have access to a genuine safety net with access to extended temporary emergency child care and counseling to help her through the immediate crisis, always focused upon the goal of providing the forms of support necessary to keeping this family intact.

Ultimately we have no idea what the nature of the crisis  that led the child’s mother to abandon the boy with the aunt was (could have been any number of factors or a combination of factors, economic, domestic violence related, etc.)

But charging the aunt or finding a new placement for the boy will do nothing to address the mother’s circumstances.

I am not familiar with what forms of crisis related child care services are or are not available in the greater Chicago area personally, but if such programs do exist (other than religiously motivated programs,) clearly the mother for whatever reason was either unaware of their existence or decided not to utilize them. She chose to leave her son with a relative rather than temporary foster care or other religiously based, religious conversion focused systems, perhaps out of fear of losing him permanently.

As for the kid, this piece,  Toddler abandoned at firehouse, has just a little bit more:

The boy was checked out at a local hospital and was “fine” but police had contacted the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services who would probably be taking custody of the child, according to the lieutenant.

Around the world, other countries address child abandonment more as a matter of economic disparity or as falling under the purview of mental health services or emergency crisis care.

In America it seems to fall under criminal law with the dump laws slapped on as an emergency pressure release valve designed to move kids into the adoption system.

Women, and their genuine needs are once again, left out in the cold.

Women need real options, not merely a false choice between permanently losing their parental custody or placing the child into a program aimed at religious conversion.

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