18-year-old abandoned under Neb. safe-haven law

By: AP
By: AP

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Police say a woman has abandoned her 18-year-old daughter at a hospital, saying she can't control the girl, in what may be the latest use of Nebraska's unique safe-haven law.

The woman told officials at BryanLGH Medical Center West that her daughter, who was adopted, is bipolar and has a learning disability, Assistant Police Chief Jim Peschong said Monday.

"The adoptive mother says that the daughter refused to take some medication for some conditions that she has," Peschong said. "She won't listen to her, can't control her."

Peschong said the daughter was placed in state custody.

If the young woman's status is confirmed by the state, she would be the 30th child abandoned under Nebraska's safe-haven law since it went into effect in July. A spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services did not return a call seeking comment Monday.

Nebraska was the last state to enact a safe-haven law, intended to protect unwanted newborns from being abandoned.

Some have interpreted the state's law as meaning it could apply to children as old as 18, because it uses the word "child" and doesn't specify an age limit.

Some have taken the word "child" to mean "minor," which in Nebraska includes anyone under the age of 19. Others use the common-law definition, up to age 14. State Department of Health and Human Services officials say another state law pertaining to juveniles will not let authorities take in children older than 17.

The Legislature opens a special session on Friday to change the law.


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