(Aug. 27, 2004) - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation
expanding the number of safe havens available to abandoned
newborns. Senate Bill 2583 adds police stations to the list of places
parents and guardians can safely abandon their newborn infants.
is an important step in protecting the states most vulnerable children,
said Governor Blagojevich. More young lives may be saved by making
the process easier for parents of newborns who are unable to care for
them and are looking for answers.
2583, sponsored by Rep. Beth Coulson (R-Glenview) and Sen. Donne Trotter
(D-Chicago), passed unanimously in both chambers.
2001 Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act granted parents immunity
from criminal prosecution if they safely abandoned their infants within
72-hours of birth. However, the law only allowed hospitals, medical emergency
facilities and fire stations to accept the newborns. The new law expands
the list of available sites to include police stations used by the states
more than 1,100 law enforcement agencies.
past three years, 22 abandoned infants who met the age requirement under
the act were reported to DCFS. At least two of another 13 infants who
were not relinquished to an appropriate safe haven had been brought to
While abandonment of an infant can be done anonymously, staff at police
stations and other accepting facilities may provide an information packet
to the parent or guardian to help explain their rights and available resources,
as well as the Illinois Medical Information and Exchange Form to provide
medical information, which might prove useful for the baby later in life.
If a newborn
infant is relinquished to a police station, the staff will transport the
infant to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. . If the parent of
a newborn infant returns to the police station within 72 hours after relinquishing
the infant, staff at the police station 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
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; 45 states now have similar laws.
Our state was an early leader in this important effort, but we should
constantly look for better ways to save children from harm, said
Director Samuels. The risk of babies in dumpsters without regard
for the infants' safety is still real, and is usually the act of a young
mother who is desperate and believes she has no alternative. Our partnerships
with private groups, the public information campaigns and the willingness
of thousands of medical facilities, fire stations and police stations
to open their doors to accept abandoned infants collectively sends a message
that we care and are ready to help.
to call for parents or guardians who are thinking of abandoning their
newborn infant is 1-866-694-BABY.
2583 is effective immediately.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services