March 15th, 2007
Posted By:
Categories: Safe Haven

Fire Department BabyFirefighters in Florida received a little baby girl from an unidentified woman late on Tuesday evening. Florida is one of the states that has a Safe Haven law, allowing mothers to take their child to a designated spot, often a hospital, fire department or police station, without suffering negative consequences. Anonymity is protected.

Right now, the newborn is healthy and safe. For this, we can rejoice. The newborn was not harmed and is being taken care of by child services. However, the contents of the article lead me to write this post.

Eccles says a woman claimed that her neighbor had given birth to the baby and didn’t want her.

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And:

Kreft says it’s unclear whether the woman who dropped off the baby was the birth mother. Firefighters say the woman had blood on her T-shirt.

Technically, this is where Safe Haven law drops the ball. Big time. And so I make this plea: if you are a mother who has given birth and has either had your child unwillingly taken from you, you don’t know what happened to your child or you have decided that maybe your decision wasn’t the best idea: PLEASE SPEAK UP. If you know of a mother who was pregnant and now suddenly seems not to be and refuses to talk about it, let her know that there is time to make a different decision.

The fact that the person who brought the baby to the station admitted, whether it was a lie or not, that the baby was not her own, should have sent off red flags with the fire fighters and they shouldn’t have allowed her to leave. However, in the article, we see that the fire department had no prior experience with the law. According to the Florida law:

mothers in desperate situations can drop off their babies who are up to three days old at any fire or EMS stations, hospitals, and emergency medical facilities without fear of prosecution.

Mothers. Not neighbors. This “neighbor” needs tracked down, questioned for kidnapping and it needs to be certain that this child’s biological mother is behind this decision. If so, obviously, no kidnapping charges would be filed. But right now? The way that this scenario is reported? It’s breaking the law.

This is when Safe Haven is not, not, NOT a good idea for all involved. That said, I am happy that the baby is safe, sound and in good care while the rest of the situation attempts to work itself out.

6 Responses to “Safe Haven Case and a Just-In-Case Announcement”

  1. Jan Baker says:

    Jenna, some of the promos for safe havens tout, “no questions asked.”
    Yet, if no identification needs to be shown, how can a safe haven ever know that the person surrendering the baby is the mother? THAT is a huge problem in my view.

    Makes no difference if the fire dept. has experience, there are generally no requirements for any proof as far as I know.

  2. Jan, sad but true. (I’ve been bebopping through websites today.)

    Florida’s Fire Marshal site links to this one which is Florida’s program: http://www.asafehavenfornewborns.com

    And under the FAQ’s is this hideousness:

    9-What will they ask the person leaving the baby?
    • Be assured – No one is going to try to find out who you are – The person leaving the baby is not required to answer any questions.
    • A Safe Haven for Newborns or the people at the facility where the baby is left may ask some medical history questions that will be placed in the baby’s records, which may help answer future health questions. Also, referral information from “Safe Haven” is available for the parent to speak with someone about what they have been through and / or to receive medical attention.
    • The purpose of this program is to save the lives of newborns. Therefore, the premise is that a newborn left in safety without medical records is preferable to an unsafe abandonment resulting in an almost sure death.

    Sigh.

  3. Jan Baker says:

    I question too the premise that babies left at safe havens were doomed to be abandoned unsafely. They could be safely relinquished to adoption or to other family members – no one knows for certain.

  4. John says:

    This is so strange. So Child Protective Services has a baby. They don’t know if it was snatched, taken charge of by some ‘good samaratin’ and dropped off because they surely know better than mom what needs to be done, or dropped off by mom.

    What do they do with this child? Any permenant plan could be undone by mom, or perhaps dad surfacing. How would they place the child for adoption? The court has to be sure that the birth parents have consented to the plan. How can any other member of the birth family ask to parent the child?

    It sounds like the fire marshall should stick to fighting fires. He knows not what he is doing. Perhaps a brainectomy is in order. This is a good idea done very badly.

    John

  5. John; by insulting the fire marshall, you are thus insulting my personal family. That said, it’s not the fire marshall’s fault, but the fault of a system that hasn’t thought every possible scenario through when it comes to this topic. Fire departments were chosen as a safe place because they are, in fact, a safe place.

  6. John says:

    Jenna, from your comment above, I had the impression that this law was interpreted and administered by the fire marshall. I didn’t know you were related to the fire marshall, and I didn’t mean to insult you. I do think that this particular safe haven law is poorly done.

    John

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