22nd child abandoned at Neb. hospital under law

from: news8.net

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A 15-year-old girl was abandoned by her father Tuesday night at an Omaha hospital, bringing to 22 the number of children left under the state's unique safe-haven law since it took effect in July.

The girl left Tuesday at Omaha's Immanuel Medical Center is a state resident, said Children and Family Services division director Todd Landry in a statement.

State officials declined to answer questions about the case until Wednesday, when more information could be gathered.

On Monday evening, a 15-year-old girl from Nebraska was left at Creighton University Medical Center. She has been placed in a residential shelter while authorities continue to investigate her case, Landry said.

Nebraska's safe-haven law, which took effect in July, is the only one in the country that lets caregivers leave children as old as 18 at a state-licensed hospital without fear of prosecution. The youngest child abandoned so far was only a year old; 12 of the 22 were teenagers. Three children were from other states, including Iowa, Michigan and Georgia.

Lancaster County officials said Tuesday that the boy from Georgia will be turned over to a child protective worker in Cobb County, Ga., to return to his home state and to attend a court hearing Wednesday. The boy will remain in Georgia custody at least until a judge decides who should take care of him.

Nebraska's law was intended to protect infants, but it did not define "child" in its wording. Most state lawmakers have agreed to amend the law when the Legislature reconvenes in January so that it applies only to infants up to 3 days old.

Associated Press Writer Jean Ortiz in Omaha contributed to this report.

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