Children who are abandoned suffer from a variety of physical, emotional, and psychological ailments. The emotional pain is particularly pronounced for nine to twelve year olds. They may experience feelings of betrayal, guilt, and isolation. This condition is known as Abandoned Child Syndrome. While some children recover from the trauma, others experience long-term effects.
In the United States, there are 7,000 abandoned children a year. Some children find themselves in foster care and others are placed with permanent adoptive families. These children are often suffering from a wide range of problems, including depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and eating disorders.
Approximately one in five children born out of wedlock will eventually be abandoned. One of the most common causes of abandonment is irresponsible fatherhood. Many men will not provide financial support for their families. Another reason for abandonment is divorce. Parents who have divorced will have visitation rights and a legal obligation to support their children. If they fail to do so, they can be criminally charged with child abandonment. Depending on the severity of the abandonment, a parent could face fines or jail time.
Most state and federal laws require parents to provide for the needs of their children. Abandoned children can be left at a hospital, police station, fire station, or another designated safe location. However, these locations vary from state to state. A “safe haven” law is a legal procedure which requires a parent to legally turn a child over to the local welfare department.
In the past, there were orphanages where babies were abandoned. Today, there are licensed adoption agencies and private infant adoption programs that accept these babies. Sometimes the mother will work with an adoption agency to place the baby directly with a permanent family. Licensed adoption agencies also provide temporary foster care to children who have been abandoned.
Thousands of abandoned children are found in Colombia every year. The United Nations estimates 60 million children are abandoned worldwide, including children born out of wedlock. Other countries, such as Brazil, recognize abandoned children as a social problem.
Children who are born out of wedlock or who are physically or emotionally abandoned by their parents are at a higher risk for developing mental illnesses. Their behavior can include problems at school, problems with their friends, and difficulty sleeping. It is estimated that children suffering from Abandoned Child Syndrome have a low self-esteem and are at a higher risk for depression.
Because of the high number of child abandonment cases, it is important to recognize the warning signs of abandonment. Symptoms of abandonment can include trouble sleeping, anger, and feelings of depression. Whether the child is in an emergency situation or in a more normal setting, the effects of abandonment can be long-lasting.
A child who has been abandoned will need emotional and psychological support to help them recover from the experience. A child who is not receiving this support can experience symptoms such as self-injury and addiction. There are even cases where a child can talk about suicide.