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Healthy Infant Surrendered to Safe Haven Site

TRENTON – Last month, a healthy newborn was brought to a Safe Haven site in New Jersey. It was the fourth Safe Haven surrender in 2020. There were two in March and one in August. Due to confidentiality statutes 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 became effective in August 2000. It 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.

“These last several months have been difficult for many of our state’s residents. COVID-19 and associated circumstances of unemployment, underemployment, food or housing insecurity, and social isolation-related mental health conditions can impact a person or family’s ability to care for a newborn,” said DCF Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer. “We want people to know that Safe Havens are open and following all recommended and necessary safety guidelines. The Safe Haven law provides reliable and accepting spaces, with people who understand and respect the sensitive nature of these difficult decisions.”

New Jersey has a statewide Safe Haven campaign with regularly updated materials to raise awareness of the law, particularly with young women between the ages 13 and 30. This past September, New Jersey high schools began to teach students about the Safe Haven law in health and physical education classes.  In addition, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation designating September of every year as “Safe Haven Awareness Month.”

“The Safe Haven program saves lives,” said Carmen Diaz Petti, Assistant Commissioner for the DCF’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency. “We are thankful to any parent/s who makes the incredibly selfless and courageous decision to surrender their infant when life circumstances prevent them from raising the baby themselves. Even during the pandemic, there are Safe Haven sites in every city and town prepared to help. No shame, no blame, no names.”

There have been 78 Safe Haven surrenders in New Jersey since the law was signed. For more information, visit or call the Safe Haven Hotline at 1.877.839.2339.  


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