It has been about a year since Nebraskaâ€™s original safe haven law went into effect and 36 children, most of them teenagers, were dropped off at local hospitals before the Legislature went into special session to restrict the law to infants up to 30 days old. This spring, lawmakers took a first step in addressing some of the broader issues exposed by the safe haven law by passing LB 603. However, much more work remains to be done to address issues such as access to childrenâ€™s behavioral health services and custody relinquishment (the practice in which parents have to relinquish custody of their children to the system in order to obtain needed services).
This Saturday, October 3rd, Nebraska Appleseed will participate in an event designed to continue the community conversation about next steps to address these issues. The event, entitled â€œSafe Haven Revisited: Mental Health, Child Protection, and Civil Rightsâ€ is being coordinated by the Family Advocacy Movement and includes an afternoon public forum from 1:30 p.m. â€“ 5:00 p.m. (free admission) which will feature local and national speakers, including affected families. There will also be an evening session from 6:30 p.m. â€“ 9:00 p.m with national speakers Karl Dennis, Richard Wexler and Diane Redleaf ($20 reserved by 09/30 or $25 at door – space may be limited). Both events will be held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom. Click here to view the event flyer. Click here to read an editorial in the Lincoln Journal Star regarding the event.
We hope you will join us for this event on Saturday. As advocates, caregivers, and citizens, we must continue to shine a spotlight on this issue and insure that Nebraska children and families have access to the services they need and that families are protected in the process.