Child abandonment means giving up all claim and interest over an infant with intent of never reclaiming the baby. Mothers surrender offspring for various reasons: mental illness, for example, or poverty, particularly in societies with inadequate social welfare arrangements or in which adoption procedures are difficult or orphanages are rare or overcrowded.

An abandoned child, a foundling, is not to be confused with a runaway or an orphan. The prevalence of child abandonment in literature does not necessarily mean that the culture practices abandonment. Societies that long abandoned or never ...

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