- Governor Rod. R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that removes a
"sunset" provision of the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection
Act and makes permanent the list of places parents and guardians can safely
relinquish their newborn infants.
heard tragic reports this week of three separate incidents where babies
were abandoned illegally, one of whom died. These stories emphasize the
importance of continuing the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act in
Illinois and helping desperate parents avoid leaving their babies in unsafe
settings. By removing the sunset provision, we may save more lives and
protect a process that gives parents a safe and legal way to give up their
newborn babies in confidence - no questions asked as long as the baby
is left in one of the many 'safe havens' covered in the law," said
approval of House Bill 175 comes during a week when three babies were
abandoned in the Chicago area.
175, bi-partisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Beth Coulson (R-Glenview)
and Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) and approved unanimously by the General
Assembly, removes the scheduled July 1, 2007 expiration of the Abandoned
Newborn Infant Protection Act.
Newborn Infant Protection Act grants parents immunity from criminal prosecution
if they safely abandon their infants within 72 hours of birth with personnel
at designated "safe havens," which are police stations, fire
stations, hospitals and medical emergency facilities.
there is a demonstrated need for the continuation of this law and for
funding for outreach to educate parents about the opportunity to give
their children what they themselves feel they cannot provide, a start
at life," said Sen. Trotter. "This week has been marked by the
tragic death of a newborn infant who was abandoned and the miraculous
recovery of another infant who was found in time. We've got to stop these
senseless tragedies, and this law gives us a fighting chance at doing
Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act was approved in 2001, 16 abandoned
infants who met the age requirement were reported to the Department of
Children and Family Services. While abandonment of an infant can be done
anonymously, staff at accepting facilities can provide an information
packet to parents or guardians to help explain their rights and available
can distribute the Illinois Medical Information and Exchange Form to gather
medical information about an abandoned infant on an anonymous basis, information
that might prove useful for the baby later in life.
If a newborn
infant is relinquished to staff at a police or fire station, they will
transport the infant to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. If the
parent of a newborn infant returns to the police or fire station within
72 hours after relinquishing the infant, staff must inform the parent
of the name and location of the hospital where the child was taken. A
parent wishing to regain custody of their infant must petition the court
within 60 days.
law has more than proven its effectiveness by saving 16 infants since
it was passed in August, 2001," said Rep. Coulson. "Sadly, during
the same period that 16 infants were saved, a total of 36 infants that
were unsafely abandoned were recorded, and of those only 17 were found
alive. It's clear that the more the word gets out, the more infants can
became the 15th state to pass a "safe haven" law that protects
abandoned infants and offers immunity for the parents and guardians who
relinquish them; at least 45 states now have similar laws.
was pleased to be among states with a safe haven law, but even more so
now that it's been made permanent," said DCFS Director Bryan Samuels.
"Also, our agency continues to promote public education throughout
Illinois in an effort to save innocent babies that deserve loving homes,"
DCFS joined the Abandoned Babies Foundation to launch a campaign to raise
public awareness of the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act. In addition
to helping fund the production and distribution of public service announcements,
over the last year DCFS also has:
Distributed posters and brochures in English and Spanish to public schools
and private organizations and communities throughout Illinois.
· Sent agency representatives to speaking engagements to educate
organizations and other state agencies about the Newborn Abandoned Infant
· Maintained information about the Newborn Abandoned Infant Protection
Act on the DCFS website, www.state.il.us/dcfs/library/com_communications_sumlicen_abinfant.shtml
feel great pride today to see the law become permanent, especially during
a week when its need is powerfully demonstrated," said Dawn Geras,
President of the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation in Illinois. "Now
we can concentrate on the public awareness needed to save more babies.
There are not many times in life that you have an opportunity to make
a life or death difference. This is one of them. Please help us spread
the word. Tell a friend. Tell a neighbor. Talk about it. It truly is a
matter of life and death."
to call for parents or guardians who are thinking of abandoning their
newborn infant is 1-866-694-BABY.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services