A young mother recently surrendered her baby under the state’s Baby Safe Haven law, the 15th time it’s been done since the law went into effect six years ago, according to Baby Safe Haven advocates.
The mother who surrendered her child, who was not identified to protect her privacy, gave her to a hospital in the greater Boston area about two months ago after reaching out to Baby Safe Haven advocates. Under state law, a mother can surrender her child with anonymity to a police station, fire station, or hospital within seven days of giving birth.
The child, who was turned over to the state Department of Children and Families, was temporarily named Shiloh – an acronym for Safe Haven Infant Light of Hope – and is in good health, according to Baby Safe Haven New England, which promotes the state law and organizes a hot line for mothers throughout the region.
Michael Morrisey of Babe Safe Haven New England said today that the mother called his agency’s hot line after publicity had spread about a separate, more tragic outcome: a teenage mother’s unsafe abandonment of her baby in East Boston. The mother, 18-year-old Eva Flores, came here from El Salvador only weeks before giving birth. She faces several charges, including reckless abandonment of a child, after throwing her baby out a second-floor window. Her son was taken into state custody, and is said to suffer from long-term ailments.
Morrisey said his agency is working to publicize the Safe Haven law so that it can work with mothers before they give birth, rather than see them give birth at home or in any other unsafe environment.
“The main thing is to call the hot line before you get into a panic, into trouble,” he said. “That is the goal.”
Alison Goodwin, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Children and Families, said in a statement that her agency relies on the work of groups like Baby Safe Haven New England to connect with people her agency might not otherwise.
“The Baby Safe Haven program is designed for parents who are unable to care for their infants and gives them the opportunity to surrender their child at identified locations without risk of prosecution,” she said. “Greater public awareness is needed to ensure safe surrenders and not unsafe abandonments.”
More information about the Safe Haven law can be found at babysafehaven.com, or by calling 866-814-SAFE.
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