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The lack of a defined definition, as well as the uncertainty around what constitutes child abandonment, creates difficulties for study and practice in this area. Two definitions of child abandonment were used in the current EU Daphne-funded project, namely open abandonment and hidden abandonment. Open abandonment is described as a kid being deliberately abandoned by a parent who can be identified, with the intention of not returning but willingly relinquishing parental responsibility. Furthermore, no other members of the family are capable or willing to raise and care for the child. It is difficult to determine the exact prevalence of open and covert child abandoning across Europe because only a few countries keep national statistics on these issues, and data varies based on the age group of the kid and the definition of child abandonment utilized. Government departments from all 27 EU member nations were written to, requesting information on open and covert abandonment, as part of the current EU Daphne-funded initiative on child abandonment and prevention. Furthermore, while it is commonly assumed that the mother is the one who abandons her child at a baby hatch, there is growing evidence that this is not always the case.

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