Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) that would increase the number of locations in the state where unwanted infants may be dropped off safely and anonymously has been signed into law.
“This is about giving parents who cannot care for their babies more options so children are not abandoned in dangerous locations,” said Vainieri Huttle. “This law will add to the current list of locations that are staffed around the clock with individuals trained to react to emergency situations and who can provide first aid if necessary.”
The new law (S-122/A-4149) expands the list of sites where newborn infants may be left safely and anonymously by a parent, or another person acting on the parent’s behalf, in accordance with the provisions of the “New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act.”
The law includes the premises of fire stations and ambulance, first aid and rescue squads that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Previous law provided that an infant may be left at emergency departments of licensed general hospitals and state, county and municipal police stations.
The new law also clarifies that under the act, a child delivered to a safe haven must be left with an adult employee at the safe haven, if that safe haven is not the emergency department at a hospital.
“This will help protect babies by providing additional safe haven sites where parents can discreetly and safely surrender their children,” added Vainieri Huttle. “These babies might have had a rough start, but that should not seal their fate.”