MORRIS COUNTY — In a news cycle filled with reports about the coronavirus-related illness and hospitalizations, information about two infants surrendered at Safe Haven sites in the state was easily overlooked.
“This is good news, that two little babies have been saved in the midst of all of this stress and suffering,” said Senator Anthony M. Bucco, a long-time advocate for the Safe Haven program and sponsor of a law requiring public schools to provide instruction on the “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act.”
“It is difficult to imagine the stress and despair the mothers of these babies were under,” Bucco said. “It is bittersweet. Thankfully, they found the strength to help themselves and their children and utilized a Safe Haven to legally and anonymously surrender the infants.”
In August 2000, the Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, sponsored by Bucco’s father, then-Senator Tony Bucco, became law.
Introduced to address a growing trend in infant abandonments, the Safe Haven act allows a distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant to give up custody of a baby who is less than 30 days old, safely, legally and anonymously at a hospital emergency room or police station in the state.
Since Safe Haven was enacted, 76 babies have been rescued, according to the State’s New Jersey Safe Haven web site.
“The Safe Haven program is a life-saver,” Bucco said. “Life is precious, and parents should know that if they feel they can’t keep an infant safe, there are options.”
Every city and town in New Jersey has at least one Safe Haven site, Bucco noted.