What Happens to Abandoned Children?

Published: 16th January 2009
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Every state in the US now has laws that make it possible for someone to abandon their children in a public service location, such as a hospital or police station. In most cases, these laws require that the baby be one week old or less (though most of us are aware of the now infamous case of the Nebraska law which temporarily allowed parents to abandon children up to age 18). The intention is, of course, to save the lives of babies who might otherwise be left to die. We've all heard the stories of tiny corpses being found in dumpsters; these laws are an attempt to provide parents with another choice.

Who are the parents?

The majority of infant abandonment comes in two forms.

One is a young teenage girl, who has perhaps hidden her pregnancy from all around her. Perhaps she has refused to acknowledge it even to herself and is taken by surprise when she gives birth, alone and with no medical or emotional support. Perhaps she has a boyfriend, and if so, he is equally as terrified as she is. If they are very savvy and knowledgeable teens, they know enough to take the child to a hospital or police station. But how many savvy or knowledgeable teens would end up in this predicament?

The other common form of infant abandonment is done by men who are old enough to know better. Some of these men are pimps who have found that the child impinges on profits. Some are the mother's boyfriend or the baby-daddy, who don't want the responsibility of the child, but are determined to remain in the mother's life. In many cases, these babies are older than a few days; they can be older infants, toddlers, or even preschoolers.

Where do the babies go?

Assuming that the babies live, they immediately go into foster care. There are foster parents who are especially equipped to receive infants at any hour of the day or night, even if it's just on a temporary or emergency basis until a more permanent foster home can be found. While the baby is in foster care, the authorities, which include the police and DFS social workers, attempt to find the birth parents of the child. If they can't be found, the state takes permanent custody and the child is declared available for adoption.

This article is written by Katherine Teel. She is the Chief Blogger over at Kiddieyaps Blog. If you want to get ideas, inputs and tips on the sophisticated lifestyle of babies today, check out her daily posts. You are bound to get better parenting ideas and tips from a seasoned parenting blogger.

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