A second teenager from outside Nebraska has been left at an Omaha hospital under the state's unique safe-haven law, apparently after his parent flew in specifically to abandon him, state officials said Monday.
A 13-year-old Michigan boy was left at Creighton University Medical Center between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Monday, said Nebraska Health and Human Services spokeswoman Kathie Osterman.
Since July 18, when the new law took effect, 18 children ages 1 to 17 have been abandoned. Nebraska's safe-haven law allows children as old as 18 to be left at state-licensed hospitals without fear of prosecution.
This is the second time a child from outside the state has been left at a hospital in Nebraska. It's not clear why the boy was left, Osterman said. He was placed in an emergency shelter.
Officials with the state's Department of Health and Human Services have stressed that the safe-haven law should be used for children in immediate danger only.
Several of the parents or guardians who have left children cited uncontrollable behavioral problems as reasons for using the law..
Officials have encouraged parents to seek other resources before resorting to abandonment. They've urged desperate parents to ask for help from family, faith-based groups and other community services before abandoning their children at hospitals.
State lawmakers and Gov. Dave Heineman have said the law, intended to protect infants, needs to be changed. A legislative public hearing is planned for Nov. 13.