This past December marked the fourth Safe Haven surrender of a healthy newborn in 2020.
The Safe Haven law, which went into effect in August 2000, allows infants up to 30 days old who are 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, the infants are placed in an adoptive home by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.
Due to confidentiality statutes and the promise of anonymity for the parent or parents, the state will not publicly share the gender of the infant or the exact date and location of the surrender.
“The Safe Haven program saves lives,” said Carmen Diaz Petti, assistant commissioner for the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, which is part of the Department of Children and Families. “We are thankful to any parent (or parents) who make 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 the division’s website or call the Safe Haven Hotline at 1-877-839-2339.