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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30, 2008

CONTACT

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

Sound bites on this topic available at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/audio.aspx

16th Instance of Safe Haven Law Occurred on October 29

Lincoln - Todd Landry, director of the Division of Children and Family Services for the Department of Health and Human Services, said a 17-year-old boy was left at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha through LB 157, Nebraska's "safe haven" law, on October 29.

Landry said the boy’s grandmother, who is his legal guardian, brought him to the hospital. The boy became a state ward on July 23, 2008 and is from Douglas County. In September, the juvenile court ruled that based on the family’s cooperation and progress, the youth could return home but remained a state ward. Services that were provided to support the youth’s return home and that continue to be provided include in-home family support, individual therapy and in-home family therapy.

"Because this meets the requirements of LB 157, this is a safe haven case, even though the youth was already a state ward and there was already court involvement with this family," Landry said.

This is the 16th instance of use of LB 157 and the 24th child left at a hospital under the law since September 13. LB 157 went into effect on July 18.

"I empathize with parents and guardians who are struggling and aren’t sure where to turn. However, in this case, it appears that appropriate services were being provided," said Landry.

More information about Nebraska's safe haven law, as well as information about local resources for families, can be found on the Department's Website at http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/children_family_services/Pages/children_family_services_safehaven.aspx

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