HARTFORD – In honor of the third annual Safe Havens Awareness Day on April 4, State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134) are urging public education on the importance of this lifesaving bill.
“The aim of this day of is to bring awareness to those who might find themselves in difficult situations with a newborn baby, that there are safe options available if, for whatever reason, they are unable to keep their infant child. This little bit a knowledge can be lifesaving by preventing abandonment,” said Rep. Devlin.
“We have to continue to spread the word that the Safe Havens law exists, especially to a new generation of people who were too young to be aware of when it was first passed. We can help these often vulnerable women from making a devastating decision if they know they have an option to surrender a baby safely that they otherwise cannot care for. I am committed to assisting any individuals or local organizations in raising awareness of the law,” said Rep. Kupchick.
Since its passage in 2000, Connecticut’s Safe Havens law has saved 33 infants from abandonment and near certain death. The parents, too, of these infants have been saved from possible incarceration and a life overshadowed by the crime of neonaticide, committed in a moment of panic.
Here is how Connecticut’s Safe Haven law works:
- The law enables a parent to bring an infant 30 days or younger to a hospital emergency room and avoid prosecution for abandonment.
- A nurse will ask the parent for their name and for medical information on the infant and parent. The parent does not have to provide that information.
- DCF will obtain custody and place the baby with a family who is already licensed and intends to adopt the baby.
- Safe Haven babies are placed into homes with families that adopt the child. In one instance, a Safe Haven baby was placed into a permanent home of a relative.
- DCF will provide support to the baby’s new family while terminating the biological parent’s parental rights so that the adoption can become final.
- Connecticut law requires that a child can only be placed by DCF with a person licensed to provide foster or adoptive care.
The Safe Havens law helps prevent the crime of neonaticide by allowing anyone to drop off a newborn baby (within the first 30 days of life) at any hospital emergency room in Connecticut. The person dropping off the baby — whether it’s the infant’s mother, father, grandparents or a family friend — will be given a bracelet matching one put on the infant by hospital staff. The police will not be called and no one will be arrested, assuming the infant has not been abused. If the parents of the child change their minds within 30 days, they may petition to get the baby back.
Metal ‘Safe Haven’ signs have been installed identifying Connecticut hospitals where infants can be left at a safe locations.