A special reminder today April 4th: Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is a safe haven for children. The Safe Havens Law, passed in 2000, enables a distressed parent to anonymously leave an infant at any hospital emergency room in Connecticut without fear of prosecution for abandonment, up to 30 days after birth. The mission of the Safe Haven statewide program is to protect babies from abandonment and to protect parents from throwing away their futures through arrest and possible conviction and sentencing for the crime of neonaticide.
Connecticut lawmakers felt the need to bring key stakeholders together to help better publicize the Safe Havens Law. A new law was enacted in the 2015 legislative session to promote awareness of Safe Havens Law, establishing April 4th as annual Safe Haven Day in Connecticut. We hope that continuing to spread the word will remind pregnant women, each year, that they have options and somewhere to turn, saving two precious lives in the process. Enacted in 2000, Connecticut’s State Havens Law is both compassionate and practical: recognizing that not everyone who delivers (or fathers) a child is capable of caring for the baby. So far, it has helped more than two dozen parents and their newborns in a time of profound crisis. However, not everyone knows about or uses this law, and so from 2000 to 2013, four babies were found abandoned, with the last being in Groton in 2006. Fortunately, all four babies survived.
When a child is dropped off at any emergency department, a trained nurse or other Emergency room staff may ask for medical information about the baby, though the parent has the right to refuse to give this information. The parent and baby are given matching bracelets with an identification number. If the parent changes their mind, they may reclaim the infant within 30 days. After the 30 days, the State Department of Child and Families terminates the biological parent’s parental rights and places the baby with a pre-licensed adoptive family.
How can you help? It’s imperative that young women know they have options and somewhere to turn without fear of persecution and/or prosecution and that they are NOT alone. Understanding the law, how it works, and sharing that knowledge with others is how we together can make a difference. Please help spread the word!
If you or someone you know cannot take care of a newborn, bring it to any Connecticut hospital emergency room. You will not have to answer and questions and will not get in trouble. The baby is safe and so are you.
If you have questions about how the program works, call 211, visit www.211ct.org, or go on Facebook CT Safe Haven Law.