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Marking 16 Years of Safe Haven for Newborns

Parents of infants placed in Safe Haven cannot be charged with abandonment. (fancycrave1/
Parents of infants placed in Safe Haven cannot be charged with abandonment. (fancycrave1/
April 4, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today is Safe Haven Day in Connecticut.

Connecticut passed the Safe Haven for Newborns Act 16 years ago. The law allows parents of infants up to 30 days old to voluntarily give up custody to nursing staff in a hospital emergency room.

Gary Kleeblatt, communications director for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), says since the law began, the program has taken in 27 infants.

"There were three Safe Haven babies in a 45-day period earlier this year,” he relates. “There were two babies brought on Jan. 9th alone, which has never happened before."

Every state has enacted Safe Haven laws in hopes of saving infants who might otherwise be abandoned in dangerous circumstances, although the maximum permissible age of the child varies widely.

Locations that accept infants in Connecticut can be found by calling 211 any time, day or night.

Once a child has been taken to an emergency room, Kleeblatt says the baby is then quickly placed in adoptive homes with families already licensed by DCF.

"And we have successfully had all of the children adopted with the exception of one child, and that one child was actually placed in a home with relatives," he states.

Parents can change their minds but need to make a request for reunification with their child as soon as possible.

Surrendering a child for adoption can be a life-wrenching event, but with the Safe Haven program, parents who feel they cannot care for their newborn have a viable option.

"These are very difficult decisions that a parent must make, and they are to be commended for making a brave choice and saving the life of their baby when that's necessary," Kleeblatt stresses.

Safe Haven also has a national crisis hotline at 1-888-510-2229 or 1-888-510-BABY.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT