By: Follow South Jersey Staff
TRENTON – According to the NJ Department of Children and Families (DCF), two, healthy, unrelated newborns were brought to different Safe Haven sites in New Jersey in the month of November, which represents the third and fourth Safe Haven surrenders in 2022.
Due to confidentiality statutes and the promise of anonymity for the parents, the state will not share publicly the gender of the infants or the exact dates and locations of the surrenders.
“Raising an infant at any age or stage in life is challenging for all new parents, no matter how well prepared you think you might be,” DCF Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer said in a press release from the department. “But for some new parents, depending on their life circumstances, it’s an impossible task. When life situations make it impossible for a new parent to safely care for a baby, the Safe Haven Law allows for secure, anonymous, judgement-free drop-off and an assurance that the infant will be placed in a loving nurturing home.”
The Safe Haven law took effect in August 2000. It allows infants up to 30 days old, free of abuse or neglect, to be anonymously surrendered to staff at hospital emergency rooms or police stations, or fire stations and ambulance or rescue squads that are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once cleared by a medical professional, surrendered infants are placed into an adoptive home through the Department of Children and Families’ Division of Child Protection and Permanency.
New Jersey has a statewide Safe Haven public awareness campaign with regularly updated materials to raise awareness of the law, particularly among women and girls between the ages of 13 and 30. Since the 2020 school year, New Jersey high schools have been teaching students about the Safe Haven law in health and physical education classes. In addition, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation designating September of every year as “Safe Haven Awareness Month.”
“While the Safe Haven Law has been in existence for over twenty years, raising awareness continues to be our priority to ensure that New Jerseyans understand what supports are available to them in these, often scary, situations,” Laura Jamet, Interim Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, stated. “It’s not often we see two infants being surrendered in the same month, but considering the surrenders took place just as the department culminated its digital and social media awareness campaign that ran through October, it demonstrates the importance of getting information about this critical resource to the people who need it most.”
There have been 82 Safe Haven surrenders in New Jersey since the law was signed.
For more information, visit www.njsafehaven.org or call the Safe Haven Hotline at 1.877.839.2339.
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