Parents in Crisis Encouraged to Find Safe Haven
Central DuPage Hospital raises awareness with “Safe Haven” sign at ER entrance
WINFIELD, Ill., January 1, 2008 – To support a statewide effort to reduce the number of illegally abandoned newborn babies, Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) wants the community to know it is a “Safe Haven.” The Illinois Safe Haven law allows parents to hand a baby seven days or younger to any personnel at hospitals, police or fire stations to be placed for adoption. According to the law, there are no questions asked and no fear of prosecution, providing a safe and legal option for desperate parents in crisis. Like all hospitals in Illinois, a sign located at the Central DuPage Hospital Emergency Room is required to raise community awareness.
“Trained caregivers play a very important role in the process of helping parents in crisis and we hope our new Safe Haven sign at the E.R. entrance will reach new parents who find themselves in need of help,” said Dr. Richard Marble, Pediatric Emergency Department physician at Central DuPage Hospital. “Illinois is the first state in the nation to require Safe Haven signage and we are proud to help raise awareness on a local level at our hospital.”
The signage bill was passed unanimously in both Illinois Houses earlier this year to underscore the existence of the 2001 Safe Haven law. Since that time, 38 babies have been legally relinquished, but an even larger number, 49, were illegally abandoned. Tragically, 24 of those infants did not survive.
“Educating people about this law is crucial,” says Penny Green, president of Save Abandoned Babies Foundation. “If people don’t know the law exists, how can they be expected to use it? This law not only saves the lives of these precious babies but also saves the parents from potential criminal charges.”
Hospitals play a vital role in the process, beginning with examination and treatment of the infant by an emergency room doctor. Hospital officials also offer a packet to the relinquishing parent with information about Illinois adoption, a list of counselors and forms to terminate parental rights and provide medical information. Then the Department of Children and Family Services takes custody of the infant and works with an adoption agency to find a loving home.
About Central DuPage Hospital
Central DuPage Hospital is a nationally recognized 361-bed facility located in Winfield, Ill., a suburb west of Chicago. The collaboration with Children’s Memorial Hospital provides children in the suburbs west of Chicago access to pediatric and neonatal specialists of Children’s Memorial.
The hospital is part of an interdependent network of healthcare organizations and services, including convenient care centers, occupational health services and a full range of options for senior living, home health and hospice care.
Amy Jo Steinbruecker
Central DuPage Hospital
Email Amy Jo Steinbruecker