Child Abandonment and its Prevention Cover Image

Child Abandonment and its Prevention
Child Abandonment and its Prevention

Author(s): Marie Anaut, Maria Keller-Hamel, Ingrid Leth, Kate Whitfield, Mária Herczog, Hana Žurovcová, Vicki Jackson, Diana Tascu, Vladislav Matej, Ieva Daniunaite, Kevin Browne, Ivanka Shalapatova
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Editura Universităţii »Alexandru Ioan Cuza« din Iaşi
Keywords: child abandonment; prevention; Europe

Summary/Abstract: Child abandonment is a neglected issue in Europe. Few countries keep records regarding the number of children abandoned, abandonment is seldom legally defined in legislation, and very little research exists regarding the extent, causes and consequences of this phenomenon. A two-year project was conducted that aimed to explore child abandon-ment and its prevention in Europe. Staff from 100 maternity units and 100 prevention programmes in ten countries were interviewed (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom). Government departments and non-governmental organisations in other European countries were contacted for information relating to child abandonment in their country. The research found little information regarding the number of children abandoned outdoors or in public places. However, some countries do keep national records of children abandoned in maternity units. The approaches to addressing child abandonment vary. In some countries it is no longer illegal to abandon a child, provided that the child is left in a safe place. Of the 27 European Union (EU) countries, ten still have baby hatches in operation. In terms of preventing child abandonment, despite a great deal of good work being done, considerably more effort is required in order to develop effective, evidence-based prevention programmes.