Omaha Drug Abuse: Thrown Away Children

What is your first reaction to hearing that a teenager was dumped off at a Nebraska hospital since the ‘Safe Haven’ law was enacted? Do you get a picture in your head of a smart-mouthed, shiftless, little meth-user, or a pot-smoking ingrate? If you do, I challenge you to develop a more accurate picture.

It’s unfortunately too common that children (yes, good teenagers who haven’t been unruly, drug addicted, or ‘difficult to manage’) are unwanted by their parents. These children are often very well-behaved, and self-disciplined; remember, they’ve spent their lives trying to prove their worth to their self-infatuated parents!

Some abandoned teenagers have mothers and fathers who are alcoholics/drug addicts or who are physically/emotionally/sexually abusive. Sometimes it’s something as absurd and inexcusable as parental vanity that causes teenagers to be left by the wayside; parents who cannot bear the idea of sacrificing their ambitions and/or social life for the sake of the child they brought into the world.

A quirk in the Nebraska Safe Haven Law was exploited by some despicable parents, to rid themselves of inconvenient, unwanted, offspring, and has unmasked a genuine crisis that shouldn’t be ignored. There is something each of us can do to help those children who, through no fault of their own, were tossed aside by their parents this year.

Boy’s Town has already helped some of these youngsters find shelter, but they cannot be expected to do, single-handedly, all that needs to be done to help these precious young people, and they cannot do all the wonderful things they do for families without terrific support and involvement from you and me. Here’s their hotline for those of you who want to help ease the suffering of these wonderful, sweet, and wounded children: Boy’s Town 1-800-448-3000.

To mislead yourself that all teenagers, or at least the majority of them, who are abandoned by their parents are ‘problem teens’ is to put blinders on while children are tormented and little lives are destroyed. To make excuses and try to elicit sympathy for the worthless parents of these neglected, abused, and abandoned children is destructive and abhorrent.

Give credit where credit is due: The person who was an unwanted teen (a throw away child) who survives the heartbreak they suffer over their parent’s disregard for them – and makes good! – deserves our admiration, respect and support – and they have mine!

If you have a heart, let it break for these children. Cry for their loss and the terrible things that have been done to them. And, if you have room in your home for them, when you finish crying, do something to give those children a place to call their own, and the love and support they so deserve.

Anyone wishing to learn more about opportunities to help out can contact Boy’s Town at the number I’ve provided. More information concerning these children can also be found by dialing 2-1-1 (24/7) from most Nebraska counties, and some of Iowa’s westernmost counties, or learn more by visiting the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services website: or call Adoption Links Worldwide (based in Omaha, NE) at 556-2367.

What happened to those teenagers shouldn’t happen to a dog – and amazingly enough, it usually doesn’t! Dogs are treated with more compassion when they are abandoned, from the outset. We live with the torment and contempt we feel for an abandoned/abused puppy’s former owners, but we’re unwilling to leave those helpless creatures to die in the streets, or huddle together in dog pounds until they are put down – Why then, would we disparage and turn our backs on human beings who’ve suffered such a fate at the hands of those they were entrusted to?



Catholic Charities Client Stories – Clients from Catholic Charities Omaha’s programs share how the services offered have made a difference in their lives.


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