The law allows a parent to voluntarily give up custody of an infant age 30 days or younger to the nursing staff of an emergency room, and the parent will not be subject to arrest for abandonment. If a parent does abandon the child, and the child dies, that person faces charges of neonaticide.
Since Connecticut’s Safe Haven law took effect on October 1, 2000, 27 infants have been saved—including two at Midstate Medical Center in Meriden—and all of them have been adopted.
“We are here to spread the message about what Connecticut’s Safe haven law is,” said Sen. Bartolomeo, who was joined by more than a dozen other state legislators and child advocates, including Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman. “We passed this Safe Haven law in 2000, but 14- 15- and 16-year old girls may never have heard about it. We need to bring it to their attention time and time again, we need to continue to spread the word that if a mom has a baby and cannot take care of it, that does not mean the baby has to perish.”
Joining Sen. Bartolomeo today was retired Meriden Police Chief Robert E. Kosienski, whose experience with investigating the death of abandoned newborn baby boy in January 1988 made an indelible impression on him—so much so that he and other officers arranged for a funeral and burial for the child, who they named David Paul.
“We adopted him, and we promised him that each and every year we would go to his grave and remember him,” Koseinski said today. “If this Safe Haven law had been available then, the baby probably would still be around, and would have had a great upbringing by a mom and dad. At least that’s my hope.”
Persons with questions are urged to call 2-1-1, or visit www.211ct.org.