Background: Occurring in primitive and contemporary societies, the motivations for newborn abandonment shortly after birth are varied and dependent upon the social norms of a specific geographic region at a given point in time. In Countries with no support systems, such practice lead to children deaths. In response, many states have passed safe-haven legislation to save unwanted newborns. The Italian legislation (l. 127/1997) guarantees to women the possibility to give birth in anonymity, without acknowledge their newborns. Mothers younger than 16, that are not allowed to acknowledge their child but have to wait until their 16th birthday. Aim: Quantify the burden of child abandonment phenomenon within the hospitals of an Italian Region and to describe their characteristics, mostly for teen mothers. Methods: A cross-sectional survey has been performed on all mothers & newborns of Veneto Region (North-East of Italy: 4.5 millions of inhs) during 2003-2004 period. Data sources were the Certificate of Delivery Care (CEDAP) flow and Hospital Discharge Records (HDR). All non-acknowledged babies and their families were analyzed. 2 logistic regression analysis have been performed to understand the influence of familial socio-demographic characteristics on newborn non-acknowledgement and the association between newborn acknowledgement and mother & child characteristics. Results: Among the 90,876 deliveries occurred in the considered period, the abandoning mothers were 75, and nearly a 40% were under the age of 16. The abandoning mother results more frequently younger than 25 or older than 35, Italian or from East Europe countries, having previous deliveries/conceptions. The non-acknowledged newborn is more frequently born at term from spontaneous delivery, healthy, rarely malformed. When the father is not acknowledging the newborn, the mother is more frequently younger than 25, a foreign or a clandestine, unmarried, unemployed and with a low education level. In these cases, newborns are all healthy. In the group of teen mothers, the father acknowledged the child in 79% of cases. In this subgroup, all the mothers were unmarried, Italian (53%), and unemployed, and all the fathers were Italian, age range 15-50 (52% over 20). The logistic regression analysis (outcome: abandonment) found the following risk factors are: age at delivery younger than 25, being foreign/clandestine, having previous live-born. The most relevant protective factor is represented by marriage. Conclusions: Continued multidisciplinary policies and lay public awareness are needed to serve as catalysts to build support for unwanted newborns and their safe assimilation into the community. The scenario of teen mothers characteristics raises several burning questions to be answered and explored: how to exclude sexual abuse? How to guarantee child protection for both “child mother & newborn”? how to prevent child trafficking and illegal adoption? Is the law really protective?

The Italian “baby Moses” law: shadows and lights in Veneto Region (North-East of Italy)

FACCHIN, PAOLA;MANEA, SILVIA;ROSA RIZZOTTO, MELISSA;MAZZUCATO, MONICA;
2007

Abstract

Background: Occurring in primitive and contemporary societies, the motivations for newborn abandonment shortly after birth are varied and dependent upon the social norms of a specific geographic region at a given point in time. In Countries with no support systems, such practice lead to children deaths. In response, many states have passed safe-haven legislation to save unwanted newborns. The Italian legislation (l. 127/1997) guarantees to women the possibility to give birth in anonymity, without acknowledge their newborns. Mothers younger than 16, that are not allowed to acknowledge their child but have to wait until their 16th birthday. Aim: Quantify the burden of child abandonment phenomenon within the hospitals of an Italian Region and to describe their characteristics, mostly for teen mothers. Methods: A cross-sectional survey has been performed on all mothers & newborns of Veneto Region (North-East of Italy: 4.5 millions of inhs) during 2003-2004 period. Data sources were the Certificate of Delivery Care (CEDAP) flow and Hospital Discharge Records (HDR). All non-acknowledged babies and their families were analyzed. 2 logistic regression analysis have been performed to understand the influence of familial socio-demographic characteristics on newborn non-acknowledgement and the association between newborn acknowledgement and mother & child characteristics. Results: Among the 90,876 deliveries occurred in the considered period, the abandoning mothers were 75, and nearly a 40% were under the age of 16. The abandoning mother results more frequently younger than 25 or older than 35, Italian or from East Europe countries, having previous deliveries/conceptions. The non-acknowledged newborn is more frequently born at term from spontaneous delivery, healthy, rarely malformed. When the father is not acknowledging the newborn, the mother is more frequently younger than 25, a foreign or a clandestine, unmarried, unemployed and with a low education level. In these cases, newborns are all healthy. In the group of teen mothers, the father acknowledged the child in 79% of cases. In this subgroup, all the mothers were unmarried, Italian (53%), and unemployed, and all the fathers were Italian, age range 15-50 (52% over 20). The logistic regression analysis (outcome: abandonment) found the following risk factors are: age at delivery younger than 25, being foreign/clandestine, having previous live-born. The most relevant protective factor is represented by marriage. Conclusions: Continued multidisciplinary policies and lay public awareness are needed to serve as catalysts to build support for unwanted newborns and their safe assimilation into the community. The scenario of teen mothers characteristics raises several burning questions to be answered and explored: how to exclude sexual abuse? How to guarantee child protection for both “child mother & newborn”? how to prevent child trafficking and illegal adoption? Is the law really protective?
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2448578
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