Safe Haven Program Protecting Our Newborns [AUDIO]
New Jersey is spending the next couple of months on raising awareness about a program that's been protecting unwanted infants from abandonment for nearly 14 years.
Under the state's Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, an individual can surrender a baby at designated locations across the state, legally and anonymously. As long as the child is unharmed and under 30 days old, the state takes over from there by searching for the child's "forever family."
"In New Jersey, a safe haven is a hospital emergency room or a police station," said Allison Blake, commissioner of the state Department of Children and Families. "We're here to help. We're not interested in prosecuting anyone or pursuing anyone."
Since its inception in August of 2000, the program has handled the dropoff of 62 infants. Anyone can come into a police station or ER at anytime, but the state encourages women to make plans while they are pregnant so they can receive medical care and counseling.
As part of the public awareness campaign, Safe Haven door markers are being distributed to hospitals throughout New Jersey, and advertisements are slated to appear in and on New Jersey Transit buses through June 15.
The Safe Haven hotline is 877-839-2339.