Safe Haven law provides refuge for unwanted newborns

Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford), Representative Kim Rose (D-Milford and Representative Charles Ferraro (R-Milford) joined Milford Hospital officials last week to remind Connecticut residents of the state’s Safe Havens Law. Since its passage in 2000, Connecticut’s Safe Havens law has saved more than two dozen infants.

In a recent six-week period, three infants in the state were saved from abandonment when their parents invoked the Safe Havens law, which allows anyone to drop off an infant (30 days old or younger) at any Connecticut emergency room. Two babies were safely dropped off in a single day, Jan. 9; one in Hartford and another in Southington, and, on Feb. 22, one was dropped off in Middletown.

“Distressed parents of newborns need to know that in their time of crisis, this option is available to them,” said Senator Slossberg. “Establishing hospital emergency rooms as safe havens has saved the lives of dozens of newborn babies, and their parents who avoided making a decision that would haunt them for the rest of their lives and potentially land them in jail. This law works, but only if people know about it. That is why I supported the establishment of Safe Havens Awareness Day.”

The Safe Havens Law has saved dozens of children, but not everyone knows about the law: Four babies were found abandoned since the law was enacted. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation creating Annual Connecticut Safe Havens Awareness Day on April 4.

“I am pleased to join my colleagues, Milford Hospital, and other hospitals across the state to recognize the importance of spreading awareness of the Safe Haven law and how it can save innocent babies,” Rep.Rose said. “This initiative gives parents who can’t care for a newborn another alternative as they face difficult challenges.”

State Rep. Charles Ferraro added, “Establishing this day as Safe Haven Day will remind mothers each year that they do not have to abandon their child in a hopeless situation. I was proud to support this legislation last year, as we hope to prevent as many infant abandonments and deaths as possible.”

Milford Hospital supports the State of Connecticut’s efforts to promote and increase awareness regarding the Safe Haven law, according to Joseph Pelaccia, President and CEO of Milford Hospital.

“A difficult situation does not need to become a tragedy,” he said. “It is our hope that any parent who is unable or unwilling to care for their baby knows that a safe alternative exists through this law. Our Emergency Department staff is ready and committed to caring for the distressed family and their infant in a compassionate manner. Through the Safe Haven law, Milford Hospital and all Connecticut hospitals, have the ability to prevent tragic situations.”