State Rep. Noreen Kokoruda and members of the legislature’s Safe Havens Working Group held a press conference Wednesday recognizing the third annual Safe Havens Awareness Day and urging greater public awareness of Connecticut’s Safe Haven law.
The Safe Haven Act prevents infant abandonment and neonaticide by allowing anyone to drop off a newborn baby (within the first 30 days of life) at any hospital emergency room in Connecticut. Since its passage in 2000, the law has saved 33 infants from abandonment and near certain death.
Rep. Kokoruda co-sponsored a bill that passed out of the Education Committee this session, HB 5446, contains language that would require education about the law in public high school health curriculum. The proposal, nicknamed “10 Minutes in 10th Grade,” came out of recommendations produced by the working group.
“It’s essential that we continue to spread awareness about the Safe Haven Act as it helps to prevent infant deaths, and also protects women. Including education about our safe haven law in health classes will ensure that teenagers know about this law and how it works. This will help ensure that young women with unwanted pregnancies are aware that they can leave their newborn at an Emergency Room as a resource without any repercussions,” said Rep. Kokoruda.
Under the law, a person who drops off an infant 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. Otherwise, the Department of Children and Families will initiate an accelerated adoption process.