Mum abandoned her son with a note attached that read, “This kid is rude and ungovernable! I do not want him in my house at all!”

Kathy Sherrer, 36 of Utah left her 8-year-old son at the front door of West Jordan Valley Medical centre last month. Believing she was protected under the state’s Safe Haven laws and believing the state had the resources needed to care for her special-needs son.

In an interview with ABC 4 Utah, she further explained why she went as far as to leave her son at a hospital. As a mother of four, ages 4, 8, 12 and 13, all her kids have special needs that require an elevated level of care and attention. Her son’s behaviour had recently become unmanageable — she reported that he was cussing at her and pulling down his pants in public.

Unfortunately her decision to drop him off at a local hospital was not protected under the state’s Safe Haven laws. In reality, these laws indicate that mothers can drop off infants under the age of 3 days at a hospital, with no explanation and without facing legal consequences. Safe Haven laws also allow mothers to request 24-hour respite for children 11 years old and younger by state-run emergency nurseries.

She is being charged with both child abuse and neglect by her local authorities. She did break laws in place to protect children from neglect, and the legal consequences of her actions are likely unavoidable, but it does seem like she did what she thought was best. Not asking for help could have had severe consequences, resulting in physical abuse or severe neglect of her special-needs children.

I think as a parent I can safely say she is not alone in feeling this way. Some days it all gets way too hard. If you or someone you know needs help please contact your GP, speak to a counsellor or ring Lifeline 13 1 114.

Share your comments below.

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  • This is so sad. Poor family – there needs to be so much more support provided to help families with additional needs like this.


  • I am glad they charged this horrible person, she had 4 kids all with special needs so after the first child was diagnosed why did she continue to have more! There are better ways to reach out for help & strategies to prevent a child behaving anti socially, I had a child of my own who would strip down regularly in public but we found ways to deal with it. Even as a teenager he was very relaxed about clothing but thankfully by then only at home.
    Under no circumstance should you just dump your kid somewhere, reach out for help from the appropriate people so you get the right help you need, get help from a local church just to share the load or give you a break from it while you wait for the right organisation to provide assistance. I know how hard it is to have special needs children having worked with them for a number of years & they often become more difficult as they get older but this woman shocks me given that she should fully understand special needs kids having 4 of her own. Shaking my head…


  • felt sd when read this article as she must have been desperte to leaveher son.appropreat no but sounds like she has aloton her plate! soto speak,surely health services and welfare groups could provide, helpand support. To charge her is not asolution in my understanding.To look after one child with a disabilit is hard,she has four! Help not punishement please


  • This poor woman and child. I can’t imagine what she is going through


  • I can only imagine how hard things are for this woman. Seems she did what she thought was best, what other options did she have? I hope she and her children get the help they need.


  • This woman needs help not further problems.


  • Poor woman! :-(


  • I wonder what would have happened if she had contacted them?
    Would their responsw have been as slow as ours often is? Possibly the behaviour of the other special needs children has had a negative effect on him and he is reacting and may not even understand some of it.


  • I feel for her, having four special needs children would definetly be very difficult but I think she should of asked for help instead of leaving him at the door of medical centre.


  • How sad is this?! The mother was obviously struggling and no wonder with so many children that required extra attention. I think they should check out her home and her other children before they do too much for her. I can certainly empathise with this mum


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