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TRENTON – In September, a healthy newborn was brought to a Safe Haven site in New Jersey. This is the 73rd  Safe Haven surrender since the law was passed in July 2000. Due to confidentiality laws and the promise of anonymity for the parent/s, the state will not share publicly the gender of the infant or the exact date and location of the surrender.

The Safe Haven law allows infants up to 30 days old, free of abuse or neglect, to be anonymously surrendered to staff at hospital emergency rooms, police or fire stations, and ambulance or rescue squads. Once cleared by a medical professional, surrendered infants are placed into an adoptive home through the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

“Surrendering an infant is an incredibly selfless and courageous thing to do when life circumstances prevent the parents from raising the baby themselves,” said DCF Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer. “The Safe Haven law allows a safe space for this difficult decision to be carried out, without judgement and without legal repercussions.”

In November 2018, DCF launched a new Safe Haven campaign with updated materials to raise awareness of the law, particularly with young women between the ages 13 and 30. For more information about the Safe Haven law, visit or call the Safe Haven Hotline at 1.877.839.2339.  

In August 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation requiring all New Jersey high schools to teach students about the Safe Haven law in health and physical education classes. That curriculum will begin in the 2020-2021 school year.

“Generally, teen girls and young women between the ages of 13 and 30 are most likely to experience an unexpected pregnancy along with some denial or panic,” said Carmen Diaz-Petti, Assistant Commissioner for the DCF’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency. “That’s why Safe Haven education is really important, so that young people can help a friend, family member or classmate, if and when the need arises. We know that awareness saves lives.”

New Jersey’s first Safe Haven surrender was in August 2000. This is the third Safe Haven surrender in 2019. Previous surrenders occurred in January and June, respectively. 

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