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October 7, 2008

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

Ninth Instance of Safe Haven Law Occurred on Tuesday, October 7

Lincoln - Todd Landry, director of the Division of Children and Family Services for the Department of Health and Human Services, said a 14-year-old girl from Council Bluffs, Iowa, was left at Creighton University Medical Center through LB 157, Nebraska's "safe haven" law, on October 7.

"We now have our first case where a child from another state has been left at a Nebraska hospital," Landry said. "We have made a formal report of the abandonment to the Iowa child abuse hotline. We are working with the Iowa Department of Human Services to resolve this situation as quickly as possible."

This is the 9th instance of use of LB 157 and the 17th child left at a hospital under the law since September 13. LB 157 went into effect on July 18.

"It's important for parents to note that LB 157 only protects them from prosecution in the state of Nebraska for the act of leaving a child at a licensed Nebraska hospital," Landry said.

Involving the courts is likely to result in requirements for parents and guardians to participate in parenting classes, family therapy, conflict resolution or other services in an effort to reunite youth with their families. Child support payments may be ordered while children are in state custody.

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