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  News  

DCFS Director Jess McDonald Lauds Lawmakers
for Passage of the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act

Springfield, IL - Governor Ryan today signed legislation aimed at keeping babies in Illinois safe.

"In fiscal year 2000 there were 38 abandoned babies under the age of 1 year. That's 38 infants too many!" said Director Jess McDonald "If this legislation helps even a few children, then it will have done its job," the Governor added.

The Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act grants parents/guardians immunity from criminal prosecution if they safely abandon their infants, three days old or younger, at a hospital, medical emergency facility or fire station. "By granting immunity from prosecution and anonymity, individuals who cannot care for their newborn infant can safely abandon their baby without fear of criminal prosecution and with the knowledge the child is safe," said Governor Ryan.

Even though abandonment of an infant can be done anonymously, the accepting facility may ask for medical background information from the parent/guardian at the time of relinquishment. Providing complete medical histories might prove useful for the baby later in the infant's life.

Illinois will join 15 other states that have implemented statutes concerning the safe abandonment of infants. In each case, statutes were enacted to prevent individuals from abandoning infants in unsafe environments.

"Throwing a baby in a dumpster without regard for the infants' safety, is usually the act of a young mother who is desperate and believes she has no place to turn," said Governor Ryan. "This legislation provides those desperate women with an alternative that produces a positive outcome for the child."

The Safe Haven legislation will automatically expire in 2007 unless the legislature moves to extend the act.

View the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act.

 

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