Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Announcing SECA- Stop Encouraging Child Abandonment, working to repeal the legalized child abandonment laws

(Please distribute freely, keeping links intact.)

Last Friday, December 5th, 2008, the SECA web-page finally went live. (

SECA, short for “Stop Encouraging Child Abandonment,” is a concept that has been a long time coming.

From the first of the legalized child abandonment laws passed in 1999 until now, efforts to repeal and stop the dump laws have suffered from a lack of an alliance dedicated to focusing primarily on the issue.

Before SECA, responses to dump laws had been piecemeal, portions of existing organizations’ broader missions. Over the years numerous organizations have opposed and testified against the legalization of child abandonment, and individuals have contacted legislators and worked against legalized child dumping. But, there had been no one place dedicated to dismantling the evolving child abandonment infrastructure.

Thus, SECA has finally been created.

Stop Encouraging Child Abandonment works toward nothing less than the full and permanent repeal of laws that legalize child abandonment.

We feel it is not the proper role of any government to encourage child abandonment as policy.

We approach this work firmly grounded in a human/civil/identity rights perspective. We support kids, women, and reproductive autonomy.

The need for SECA had become apparent over the past nine years, but the child welfare crisis in Nebraska with its law legalizing the abandonment of older children finally made it clear to the broader public, a formalized response to legalized child dumping is necessary.

Since the beginning, the consequences of such laws have been clear to those of us “in the field.” With bills rushed through state legislatures and policy and legal criticisms by and large dismissed, the general public simply never had reason to even think about the consequences of “safe haven” laws. Most people had never heard the voice of a kid who had been legally dumped. They had never seen the desperation of mothers and families utilizing the legalized abandonment laws.

Nebraska changed everything.

Nebraska’s older kid dumps, and the state’s eventual age down of eligible dumpees from 18-year olds to those 30 days and younger has solved nothing. It has merely attempted to put off dealing with the inevitable consequences “safe haven” laws create until the infants abandoned under the new law grow old enough to speak for themselves.

The child welfare abandonment disaster across the United States, legalized everywhere except Washington DC., is far from over. It is just beginning.

Out of that context, SECA was born, not so much a formal organization, for now more of a collective voice of allies, organizations, bloggers, and individuals among others working together towards the repeal of the dump laws.

If you are interested in working against the legalized child abandonment laws, or already are, SECA can serve as a resource in that work.

We can be contacted through the SECA contact page.

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