2 Newborns Abandoned — But Alive — Thanks to NJ ‘Safe Haven’ Law
Since 2006, when 10 babies were surrendered under New Jersey's Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, the number of infants dropped off anonymously at designated safe zones has dropped significantly.
A total of 10 unwanted infants, including two so far in 2017, have been surrendered since the start of 2014, according to the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.
A male infant was left at St. Michael's Hospital in Newark on June 17 and a female newborn was dropped off on July 28 at Saint Mary's General Hospital in Passaic, according to the State Police website.
State Police list the babies publicly "to ensure there was no foul play" in their surrender.
"We work very hard and very quickly to find them safe, stable and loving homes," DCF Commissioner Allison Blake told New Jersey 101.5.
As long as the baby is less than 30 days old and has not been abused, a distressed parent can give up custody safely, legally and anonymously, the Safe Haven law states.
"We've been fortunate over the last several years to be able to develop a pretty extensive network of community supports for young families," Blake said. "In those years where we're not seeing a high number of Safe Haven infant surrenders, we hope it's because those vulnerable families have a strong network of supports ... and are feeling able to assure the well-being of their children."
The law was expanded in 2015 to include fire stations and ambulance, first aid and rescue squads as safe drop-off zones, as long as the station is staffed around the clock. The law originally identified only hospitals and police stations as drop-off sites.
Boy left in Newark
The State Police says this boy was left at St. Michael's Hospital in Newark on June 17. They believe he was born a day earlier.
He is described as white and Hispanic, measured 18 inches tall and weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces.
He was left wearing what looked like a brand-new red and blue Kidgets onesie with a monkey on the front; blue Kidgets pants with "super cute" on the rear; and red decorative patches on the knees.
Girl left in Newark
State Police say this girl was dropped off at Saint Mary's General Hospital in Passaic on July 28. They believe she was born that day.
She was described as white, measuring 20.5 inches tall and weighed 8 pounds, 20 ounces.
Authorities ask anyone who may want to identify the infants or share information about them to call 800-709-7090.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.