HARTFORD--In anticipation of Safe Haven Day in Connecticut April 4, the state wants to highlight recent successes with the law.
According to the Department of Children and Families, three babies have been handed over at hospital emergency departments already this year -- two on January 9 and one on February 22.
The Safe Haven Law gives a parent who either can no longer care for their baby or for no longer wants to the option to hand over custody to DCF, as long as the child is 30 days old or younger and as long as it happens at hospital ERs.
The law is meant to prevent babies from being abandoned in dangerous places as they have been in the past, such as dumpsters and public bathrooms.
St. Francis Hospital in Hartford has been a Safe Haven for several babies, most recently on January 9.
"They have been infants who were just born a few hours ago, or an hour ago, or within a day or two," said Patti LaMonica, RN and Emergency Department executive director at St. Francis.
The other two babies were left at ERs in Southington and Westbrook.
Since the Safe Haven Law's inception 15 years ago, DCF says 27 babies have been potentially saved from abandonment.
Here is how the Safe Haven Act works:
- The law enables a parent to bring an infant 30 days or younger to a hospital emergency room and avoid prosecution for abandonment.
- A nurse will ask the parent for their name and for medical information on the infant and parent. The parent does not have to provide that information.
- DCF will obtain custody and place the baby with a family who is already licensed and intends to adopt the baby.
- Safe Haven babies are placed into homes with families that adopt the child. In one instance, a Safe Haven baby was placed into a permanent home of a relative
- The Department will provide support to the baby’s new family while terminating the biological parent’s parental rights so that the adoption can become final.
- Connecticut law requires that a child can only be placed by the Department with a person licensed to provide foster or adoptive care.