Parents Leave Kids With 'Safe Haven' Loophole

Alex is a sweet-sounding boy, but a troubled one. He has been hospitalized 26 times since he was 5 years old. His recently broken hand is a testament to his sometimes uncontrollable anger.

Alex said, "I have a cast because I punched a wall. It's healing pretty well but I broke my bone in my hand right here and I broke my pinky. I don't know why. I stood up on my bed and faced the wall and just punched it as hard as I could and that's how I hurt my hand."

Alex's moods can swing with no warning. Theil said he's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as well as intermittent explosive disorder, impulse control conduct disorder and anti-social personality disorder. "I've been afraid of him as he's gotten bigger. And I'm afraid that he would hurt me."

She's also afraid that Alex might harm her 2-year-old son, Caden. For years Theil has lived with tension and fear, fear of the phone ringing, worried it might be the school or police reporting more trouble with Alex. One day she had to call the police on him.

She thinks Alex needs full-time psychiatric care. But getting it has not been easy. Alex spent almost a year at Nebraska's I Believe in Me Ranch. But Theil said Alex was forced to leave when the insurance ran out. She has managed after months of trying to get him accepted at Boys Town, the famous residential treatment center.

As they drove to Boys Town, she felt luckier, but not different, than others who had made similar drives to a Safe Haven hospital with their child. "We haven't had to go the Safe Haven route but the possibility of knowing we would have to in a crisis situation I would understand why."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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