Safeguarding Unwanted Children: US Laws and Your Options

  • An estimated 391,000 children are unwanted or abandoned in the U.S., demanding protective measures and laws.
  • The Safe Haven Law allows parents to abandon children in safe places without facing prosecution.
  • The Adoption and Safe Families Act ensures children quickly find permanent homes and don’t linger in foster care.
  • The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) protect children from diverse backgrounds.
  • Parents with unwanted children have several options: adoption, foster care, and, as a last resort, abortion.

Children are the future of this world, and their protection is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, many children are unwanted and abandoned by their parents. However, the U.S. Government has enacted many laws to protect such children. Here’s what you need to know about unwanted children in the U.S., laws protecting them, and what you should do if you have an unwanted child.

Unwanted Children in The Country

It’s estimated that there are about 391,000 children that are either abandoned or unwanted in the U.S. These children are sometimes left by their parents due to financial issues, abuse, negligence, or other forms of abandonment.

Government Laws Protecting Unwanted Children

The U.S. government has enacted several laws to protect these children from becoming victims of child labor and human trafficking. Here are some laws protecting them:

Foster child with foster parent

Safe Haven Law

The first law that comes to mind when we consider protecting unwanted children is the Safe Haven Law. The Safe Haven Law allows parents or guardians to bring their unwanted or abandoned children under a specific age limit to a safe place without fear of prosecution. In some states, this limit is set at 72 hours; in others, it can be up to 30 days. This law aims to prevent the death of unwanted children or infants who are left in unsafe places.

Adoption and Safe Families Act

Another law designed to protect unwanted children is the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA). This law was enacted in 1997 to ensure that children do not linger in the foster care system for long periods. The law mandates that child welfare agencies file for termination of parental rights if a child has been in foster care for 15 out of 22 months without the parent taking measures to reunite with the child. The law focuses on finding permanent homes for these children as quickly as possible.


Furthermore, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is a law that ensures that children are protected from abuse and neglect. This law stipulates that states must provide adequate protection to children who have been abused or neglected. CAPTA requires states to have programs to prevent, identify, treat, and investigate such cases. The law also mandates certain types of reporting and mandatory reporters who are required to report instances of abuse or neglect to the relevant authorities.


The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was a law enacted by Congress in 1978 to preserve the cultural heritage of Native American children. This law affirms that the best interests of Native American children are to remain with their families and community. The law also requires that Native American tribes be notified of adoption or foster care proceedings involving Native American children. ICWA also mandates that Native American children be placed with Native American families to preserve their cultural heritage.

What to Do if You Have an Unwanted Child

If you have an unwanted pregnancy, you must know what to do. Every life is valuable, and many resources are available to help you make the right decision for your child.

Adopted child by african woman


The first thing you should consider is adoption. If you’re a parent who wants to be hands-on with your child’s growth, consider checking out local open adoption programs. This kind of adoption allows you to remain in contact with your child and have some degree of control over the decisions made for them.

Foster Care

Foster care is another option for those looking after an unwanted child. This kind of care provides a safe and nurturing environment while the parents can get back on their feet. The foster parent will take care of all the medical and educational needs of the child while the parents are given time to get back on track.


Lastly, abortion is an option for those seeking a more permanent solution. This decision should not be taken lightly, as it can have severe psychological repercussions. You must consult with medical professionals before making this kind of decision.

It is essential to understand that dealing with an unwanted child can be a challenging situation, but there are numerous laws and resources in the United States that aim to safeguard the welfare of these children. Whether it’s adoption, foster care, or even considering abortion, it’s crucial to remember that each decision has consequences and responsibilities. Consultation with legal or medical professionals is always advised to ensure the best possible outcome for the child and everyone involved. Ultimately, the aim is to provide every child a chance to grow in a safe, nurturing, and loving environment where they can thrive.

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