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New Video Explains How Parents Can Safely Surrender An Infant They Are Unable to Raise

 For Immediate Release  Contact:  609-888-7915
 March 7, 2016  Ernest Landante, Jr.

TRENTON – In the effort to provide information to parents and prevent infants from being dangerously abandoned, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) is partnering with Safe Have locations throughout the state to post outdoor signs that identify sites where parents may legally and safely give up an unwanted baby.

"Abandoning a baby unsafely puts the infant in extreme danger,” said DCF Commissioner Allison Blake.  “That’s why it is so important parents know they have secure options where they can anonymously and safely surrender an infant."

Many hospitals have already installed the eighteen by eighteen inch metal signs at or near emergency room entrances.  Signs will soon be available for police and fire stations and first aid, ambulance, and rescue squads.

The Safe Haven Infant Protection Act allows parents - or someone acting on their behalf - to legally and anonymously surrender an unwanted and unharmed infant under 30 days old at any hospital emergency room or police station in New Jersey.  Governor Christie recently signed legislation expanding New Jersey’s Safe Haven Law, increasing the list of sites where unwanted infants may also be surrendered.  These sites include fire stations and first aid, ambulance, and rescue squads staffed around the clock, seven days a week.

Fire stations and ambulance, first aid, and rescue squads without  24-hour, seven days a week staff coverage may request a sign that says it is not a Safe Haven and provides the state’s Safe Haven hotline phone number.

“Many fire departments in and around our major cities will qualify as Safe Havens, and certainly a community fire house may be the place a distressed parent might choose to leave an unwanted infant, however those electing to do so would have to meet specific parameters for participation in the program established by DCF,” said William Kramer, Jr., acting director of the Division of Fire Safety and state fire marshal.  “It is an organized and cooperative effort to ensure the safety of an unwanted infant.”

Kramer adds that the Division has notified the fire service of the opportunity to participate in the Safe Havens for Infants program and is confident that most that qualify will choose to participate.

DCF also released a new video explaining how the Safe Haven program works and that mothers who surrender an infant can anonymously receive post-pregnancy services.

"While we strongly prefer that women call us while they are pregnant so they can receive medical care and counseling, we want to assure parents who choose not to keep their infant that they will not go to jail and can remain anonymous if they bring their unharmed infant to a Safe Haven," said Commissioner Blake.

“New Jersey’s hospital emergency departments are there for their communities 24/7/365, and we embrace our role in the Safe Haven program.  For a struggling parent unable to care for a newborn, our hospitals provide a safe place and compassionate professionals who truly care about the baby’s well-being,” said Betsy Ryan, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association.

DCF conducts a yearly Safe Haven awareness campaign and provides Safe Haven brochures, posters, teacher kits, and pocket cards at conferences and to schools, community organizations, medical professionals and other organizations.

DCF is dedicated to ensuring a better today and an even greater tomorrow for every individual the department serves.  In partnership with New Jersey's communities, DCF ensures the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey's children and families.  DCF funds and directly provides services and support to over 100,000 women, children and families each month.


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