If you are considering abandoning your newborn, please bring them to any one of the many baby safe haven locations across the state, child advocates urge. There is a way to do this, safely and with no questions asked. This plea comes one day after a baby was found dead along a road in Wheaton triggering a large-scale search for the mother.
Illinois has a Safe Haven Law. The Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act was adopted in 2001. The law says any unharmed newborn 30 days old or less may be handed to a staff member at any hospital, emergency medical care facility, police station or fire station with no explanation required.
You can remain anonymous. You don’t have to answer any questions. You can move on with your life,” said Dawn Geras, founder of the Chicago-based Save Abandoned Babies Foundation.
Every safe haven location — which now also includes college and university police stations — is required by law to have a sign outside designating it as a place where babies can be legally relinquished. The only way parents would be at risk of prosecution is if the child shows signs of abuse or neglect. If the baby is left with police or fire personnel, it is immediately taken to a hospital for care. More often than not, Geras said, the baby is healthy. At this point, the Department of Children and Family Services takes custody of the child and reaches out to adoption agencies that have families willing to accept a Safe Haven Baby.
Geras said parents who bring their children to a safe haven are sometimes so deeply comforted by the resources provided to them that they change their minds about abandoning the babies or move forward with a traditional adoption plan.
Anyone seeking confidential information or help to legally turn over their child can call (888) 510-2229 or visit saveabandonedbabies.org.