Abandoned children are often the victims of violence, starvation, exploitation and disease. Some countries have abandoned-child agencies, which assume custody of orphans until they can be adopted. In 1998, Human Rights Watch reported that these orphanages are “rife with cruelty and neglect.”
In addition to physical neglect, psychological trauma and emotional wounds can accompany abandonment. Abandonment trauma can impact a child’s life into adulthood and can lead to relationship problems, substance abuse, and mental health issues.
A parent’s mental illness or addictions can also contribute to abandoning a child. For example, if a child’s parents are suffering from post-pregnancy depression or a co-occurring mental health condition, the parents may decide to put the child up for adoption.
This is often referred to as parental child abandonment. The children are not intentionally harmed, but the parents have decided to relinquish their parental rights for financial or personal reasons. Most states have laws governing parental child abandonment. These laws usually prohibit a parent from resuming or reasserting their rights to the child.
Another type of child abandonment is the intentional act to harm or kill a child. This is considered a crime against the person, and it is usually punished by law enforcement officials or the state’s child welfare agency. This is different than accidental child abandonment, which is when a child is left unattended by a caregiver.
A common reason for parental child abandonment is poverty. Many families live on the edge of poverty, and economic difficulties can result in a child being left behind. Some parents are unable to provide for their children, so they leave them with family members or turn them over to a government-run orphanage. In these circumstances, the children are not intentionally abandoned by their parents, but they are treated poorly by the facility or organization.
In the United States, children who are abandoned by their parents are generally taken into foster care until they can be placed with a permanent adoptive parent or guardian. In some cases, the child will be adopted by a member of the extended family. In other cases, the child will be placed with a relative or will enter a foster home.
Even though some families experience financial hardship, it is important to note that child abandonment can happen to any family. It is essential for all parents to educate themselves on the causes of child abandonment so they can prevent it from happening to their children. It is also important to recognize that the root cause of child abandonment can be complex and multi-faceted, so parents should seek help from a professional if they feel that their situation requires intervention. BetterHelp, for example, makes online counseling accessible to anyone from any device. It is easy to set up a session and begin working through the issues that may be contributing to child abandonment. This is a critical first step toward healing for the whole family. Taking this step can also make it easier to talk with your child about the subject, and to help them work through their feelings in a safe environment.