Regarding the item Neb. lawmakers re-examine safe-haven law:
Obviously, all America is watching the Nebraska Legislature as lawmakers work to amend the Safe Haven Law. What parents need that they are not getting is a place to legally place their children when a serious time out is indicated. When my daughter was a teen, we were lucky that we were able to place her in a runaway shelter legally. She was not allowed to leave the shelter except to go to school or she would be arrested. While it was not a cure-all for all the issues she faced as a teen, it was the turning point in our ability to regain parental control over her. These are the kind of supports that parents need when their children get out of control.
Mental health services are not readily available, and many of them are outpatient. When the situation gets out of hand, parents and children need safe, temporary, legal places to put out-of-control children. The children need to know that the parents have an alternative placement option which they can use when the behavior becomes dangerous and intolerable. None of us want to return to the days of the woodshed and the physical punishment that went with it. But we need alternatives with teeth in them when children get to the point that in-home parental control is not working. What the Nebraska Safe Haven Law has shown is that there is a huge need that is not being met to support parents in raising responsible, healthy children in an era where this has become increasingly difficult.
Barbara ClarksonSavannah, Ga.
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