Nebraska's safe haven law

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Nebraska's safe haven law

Postby Marina » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:28 am

There have been quite a few articles on Nebraska's safe haven law, where parents from other states have brought difficult older children to Nebraska and dropped them off.

For more information, do a web search. ... /810190398

Foster care ordered for teen left in Nebraska

By Pat Murphy • ECCENTRIC STAFF WRITER • October 19, 2008

The Southfield youngster left at a medical center in Nebraska has temporarily been placed in foster care along with his three siblings as the Oakland County Prosecutor's office decides on action against his mother and father.

The mother and two other relatives dropped the 13-year-old off Monday at a medical center in Omaha, Neb.

"We believe the mother simply wanted to get rid of the 13-year-old," said Deborah Carley, Oakland County's chief deputy prosecutor.

At Friday's hearing, a court referee granted the prosecutor's motion to suspend the parents' rights pending a Nov. 7 pretrial conference.

The prosecutor is pursuing civil action seeking permanent suspension of their rights in the case of the 13-year-old and temporary suspension for the other youngsters ages 10, 5 and 3. As of Friday afternoon, it wasn't certain whether the children would be placed in one foster home or divided among several. Carley said it is difficult to place four children in one foster home.

The 13-year-old is believed to have been left at the Omaha medical center because of Nebraska's lenient state child abandonment law.

The 13-year-old was not in court Friday, Carley said, "but he's expected back in Michigan by Monday."

The youngster has reportedly been a problem to his parents, the prosecutor said, but there is no record of his ever having been taken into custody or appearing in court.

"Nor is there any record of the parents trying to get help to deal with him," Carley said.

The attorney for the parents, Douglas Oliver, could not be reached for comment and did not return phone calls Friday afternoon.

Southfield Police Chief Joseph E. Thomas Jr. has expressed sympathy for the family, while agreeing their conduct should be reviewed in light of state law." I think they (the parents) simply couldn't control the youngster and didn't know what to do."

Thomas is critical of laws that he considers to undermine parents' ability to discipline youngsters.

"There are times when parents should be able to paddle a child on the backside without having to worry about allegations of child abuse," he said.

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Postby Marina » Sat Nov 01, 2008 11:27 am ... 6239&rfi=6

17-year-old boy left at Omaha hospital; teen girl tries to turn herself in
By: Karyn Spencer and Martha Stoddard, Midlands News Service
Updated 10/23/2008 12:37:14 PM EDT


Todd Landry, children and family services director at HHS, sent a letter this week to adoptive parents and guardians of former state wards to ensure that they are aware of the services available to families of troubled youngsters.

Several of those using the safe haven law have been adoptive parents or guardians.

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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:06 pm ... /812030461

Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Southfield mom of abandoned son can't rejoin family, judge says

Francis X. Donnelly / The Detroit News

A Southfield woman who abandoned her teenaged son in Nebraska can't rejoin her family pending a trial to revoke her parental rights, a judge ruled today.

Teri Martin, 38, has been separated from her family since October when an Oakland County juvenile court official, citing the abandonment, said she was unfit to care for her four children.

Three of the children live at the family home with Martin's husband. The fourth child, the one who was abandoned, lives in a foster home.

During today's hearing, Oakland County Family Judge Linda Hallmark moved up the date of the trial to revoke Martin's parental rights to Dec. 12.

During the trial, prosecutors will try to terminate her parental rights to the abandoned teen, and possibly to the other children as well.

Martin had brought her 13-year-old son to Nebraska to take advantage of a state law that allows children in danger to be surrendered without the parents being charged with abandonment.

Nebraska, which was inundated with other parents abandoning their kids, has since changed the law to apply only to babies less than 30 days old.

Martin's attorney has argued that she was at wit's end with the troubled teen's behavioral problems after seeking other types of treatment that weren't successful.

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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:32 am ... 1037/rss14

Mom denied chance to reunite with family

By Pat Murphy • ECCENTRIC STAFF WRITER • December 7, 2008

The Southfield woman who left her 13-year-old adopted son at a medical center in Nebraska was denied the chance to reunite with her family pending a hearing on the termination of her parental rights on Dec. 12.

A motion on behalf of Terri Martin to join her husband and their other children at the family's Southfield home was rejected by Oakland County Probate Judge Linda Hallmark on Wednesday morning.

The 13 year old, in the meantime, remains in foster care.

Martin was ordered in October to stay away from the family after she drove 700 miles and abandoned her son in Nebraska, which at that time had a Safe Haven Law that enabled parents to abandon children without facing charges.

Claiming the youngster had been unmanageable, Martin and her mother left the child at the Creighton Medical Center, saying they would likely return.

The Oakland County Prosecutor's office initiated civil action against Martin saying that Nebraska's law was not applicable in Michigan.

"The youngster had some issues but they weren't properly addressed by the parents," chief deputy prosecutor Deborah Carley said.

When she initiated the civil action, Carley said there was no police or court record to indicate the youngster was a problem, nor was there any indication Martin sought help handling the child.

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Postby Marina » Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:10 pm ... /812130380

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Teen stays in foster care
Southfield parent who left 1 of her 4 children in Neb. will be allowed to visit other 3 on holidays.

Mike Martindale / The Detroit News

PONTIAC -- A Southfield mother will get to spend the holidays at her own home with three of her children, but a fourth child -- a teenage son she is alleged to have abandoned in Nebraska -- must stay in foster care.

"I'm happy because it means having my kids for the holidays and having more time with them," Terri Martin said outside Oakland County Family Court on Friday, after pleading no contest to neglect in a case that got international attention. In October, she drove the 13-year-old boy 700 miles to Omaha in an attempt to change his behavior by dropping him off near a facility for wayward youths. Although she is banned from staying overnight at her home, Martin will be permitted to spend 12 hours with the three children at home on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Martin, 38, and her husband, Terrance, agreed to a temporary wardship plan that permits them to visit the teenager who remains in foster care. It allows their three other children, ages 3, 5 and 11, to live with their father and permits their mother to have daytime visits, supervised by their father, for up to four hours. By month's end, her visits will be increased to eight hours.

Assistant Oakland County prosecuting attorney Deb Carley said the plea eliminated the need for a trial, and a disposition hearing is set for Feb. 2 before Family Court Judge Linda Hallmark. While the neglect charge did not carry a criminal penalty, Martin could have lost all parental rights in a trial.

After the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office filed a petition of neglect Oct. 16, the state took temporary custody of the teen and his siblings. Martin has been barred from the family home but allowed one hour a week supervised visitation.

"This is a loving mother trying to do what she could to turn her son around," said Alan Byrd, Martin's attorney. "You might not agree with what she did, but it was not abandonment and has been greatly exaggerated and misrepresented as such."

Byrd said the boy's parents had tried several ways, including a church boot camp and counselors, to fix his aggressive behavior.

In agreeing to the plan, Hallmark also ordered both parents to undergo psychological evaluations.

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Postby Marina » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:33 pm ... 7131&rfi=6

A happy ending at 'haven' hearing
Matthew Hansen, Midlands News Service

Court hearings for the 36 children who were dropped off under Nebraska's old safe haven law have produced anger, confusion and more than a little sorrow.

But a hearing Tuesday -- to decide the placement of most of the nine children dropped off by a widowed Omaha father -- offered a new emotion.


A Douglas County judge ruled that the seven youngest children of Gary Staton, 36, could stay with an aunt in Lincoln, a decision that prompted nods and grins from the relatives who packed the small courtroom.


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