Lt. Governor, Department of Children and Families Raises Awareness About Safe Havens Act for Newborns
52 Newborns have been placed for adoption since 2001
(Hartford) Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Department of Children and Families Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes and other top officials today recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month by raising awareness about how infants can be protected through Connecticut's Safe Havens Act for Newborns. The law allows a parent, who does not believe they can care for their newborn, to voluntarily give up custody of an infant age 30 days or younger to the staff of an emergency room and remain anonymous. DCF will then place the baby in a pre-approved adoptive home.
“Parents who deliver a baby and find that they cannot or do not want to raise their baby may feel like they have nowhere to turn—but this program gives them an option—a safe haven. This law prevents newborns from being out in danger and instead places them in loving homes," stated Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz.
"We want to reduce the stigma by letting parents who may be struggling know that asking for help is a strength. This law gives them a responsible alternative, so their newborn remains safe and unharmed. Simply put, Safe Havens saves lives. Not to mention the joy and fulfillment it brings to adoptive parents when a newborn is placed in their care," said Commissioner Dorantes.
Since the law was passed in 2001, a total of 52 babies have been brought to hospitals around Connecticut with the most being 6 at one particular location which is St. Francis in Hartford.
Adoptive parents of "Adam" said, "When we were chosen to be Adam's adoptive parents, our hearts filled with joy and excitement. As lucky parents of a Safe Havens baby, we want to tell you that you don't have to be ashamed or scared of using the Safe Havens Law. This law will protect your baby, and he or she will be loved, safe and well cared for."
The law states that parents who do not harm their newborn cannot be criminally charged with abandonment if they bring their baby to a safe place. A nurse will meet the parent in a private area and ask them to provide information about their child's medical history. The nurse will also ask questions such as name and address but since the program's effectiveness depends on anonymity, parents do not have answer any questions. Parents will receive information about their rights and how to contact DCF if they have questions or change their mind.
To learn more about Connecticut's Safe Havens Act for Newborns, please click here.