Friday, November 21, 2008

Nebraska cops out

    In a disappointing, but unsurprising move, the Nebraska Legislature has voted to limit the state's "safe haven" law to infants 30 days old or younger – and do absolutely nothing about the underlying problem, desperate families with no place to turn. Well, not absolutely nothing: they've also resorted to the all-purpose government cop out, a special committee to study the issue.

    In fairness, that's not entirely the Legislature's fault. The governor called the legislature into special session in a way which largely tied its hands. This is the same governor who has shown unwavering support for Todd Landry, the head of the state child welfare agency and a man who is to the safe haven crisis as former FEMA director Michael Brown was to Hurricane Katrina. To their credit, a number of legislators have made clear they are appalled by Brownie – sorry, Landry's – handling of the whole mess.

    Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times did a very good story about the larger issues, including a close look at another case that Landry, presumably, would say was a non-emergency, and the man from Boys Town quoted in the Grand Island paper a few days ago, would say could be solved by going to a student intern. See what you think. It's also one of the few stories to note that Nebraska is one of the worst in the nation when it comes to throwing children into foster care.