Abandoned children are vulnerable to physical and emotional abuse. They may also experience social isolation, low self-esteem and unhealthy coping mechanisms like eating issues or addiction. They are also more likely to have mental health problems and to suffer relationship difficulties as adults, says Mignon Walker, M.D., a psychotherapist in Hermosa Beach, California.
A common factor behind child abandonment is a poor relationship between parents. This can be a result of divorce, separation, or other complicated family conflict. These issues can lead to a lack of trust, frustration, and resentment. Moreover, these are stressful situations that can leave a parent feeling overwhelmed and emotionally unavailable to their children.
The state of Louisiana defines abandonment as a willful act to cause the desertion of a child under the age of 10. If you leave a child without reasonable care, supervision or support and do not return within 6 months, then you could be charged with this crime.
In addition to a felony, the penalty for abandonment can include fines and jail time. Penalties vary by state and depend on the nature of the crime. In some cases, the offense of child neglect or abandonment can be considered a misdemeanor, which can include fines and up to a year in jail.
Many abandoned children end up in orphanages, but sometimes they are left in the wild and live out their lives. This happens in rural communities where there is little infrastructure and a high rate of child labor.
Other times, abandoned children are smuggled into populated areas on the pretext of visiting a market or a relative. These children are often brought to busy street corners, where the mother never returns with a drink of water and they spend their lives in the streets or on the fringes of society.
Some abandoned children are rescued by organizations who take them in until permanent adoptive parents can be found. Usually, these agencies will work with local leaders to trace families and find options for them.
In other countries, these organizations will take the children into foster care until a home can be found. These agencies are not always successful, but they do their best to ensure the children’s safety and happiness.
When Arise staff meet these children they can see their scars and struggles but hope that they will rehabilitate with time. They will need to learn to trust others and develop healthy coping mechanisms for difficult situations.
Arise staff can then work with the local leaders to create plans that will help the children succeed. These plans might include a job training program, school enrollment or even a visit to a doctor’s office.
This process is a long process that can take up to a year. It takes a lot of patience, persistence and the courage to ask for help when you need it most.
Arise believes that the majority of abandoned children can be saved and that there is a path to success. We work with the children and their families, providing a safe place where they can start again and get back on track to become the children they want to be.