Safe Haven Law Safe Haven • Law that allows a parent to legally and safely relinquish their unharmed newborn anonymously without fear of arrest or prosecution for abandonment, with no questions asked • In 2006, Illinois School Code amended to require the Safe Haven Act be included in all school comprehensive health education classes.
How Does it Work? • Parents who are unable or unwilling to care for an infant can legally, anonymously, and safely relinquish their unharmed newborn up to 30 days old. • The only requirement is that the unharmed newborn be brought to: • A hospital, a fire station, police station, sheriff office, or an emergency care facility in Illinois, and handed to any staff member.
Can only a parent bring in a newborn? • In most cases, a parent will bring in the infant. The law allows another person to safely relinquish the unharmed newborn if the person has lawful custody, or is acting on behalf of the parent.
Does the parent have to call before bringing in the newborn? • No • A parent can safely relinquish an unharmed newborn anytime, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. • The Safe Haven law is good 24-7.
What does the parent have to say? • Nothing is required to be said. The parent can walk with no questions asked. • A packet of information is available to the parent but the parent is not required to accept it. • This packet contains information about: • Adoption • Medical/family history form • Written notice of the process to terminate parental rights
What happens to the newborn? • The newborn will be examined and given medical treatment if needed. • If the examining doctor determines the newborn has been harmed, the parent could be prosecuted (social services department searches for you, if that’s the case) • The newborn will be placed in a pre-adoptive home.
What happens to the parent of the newborn? • Once the infant has been safely relinquished, the parent is free to go. • Nothing happens to the parent.
What if the Parent Wants the Newborn Back? • Under the Safe Haven law, a parent who has safely relinquished an unharmed newborn has 60 days to petition the court to prevent the termination of parental rights and regain custody.
Is the Safe Haven Law Effective? • The intent of the law is to assure the safety of unwanted newborns that might otherwise be unsafely abandoned. Although, it's hard for a law to change the way a very frightened person may act. • Between August 2001 and August 15th, 2012 • 66 babies have been unsafely abandoned (Parking lot, Fire station, Church, Trash can, etc..)In (33 did not survive) • During this same time frame • 75 newborns were safely relinquished in Illinois under the Safe Haven law
Why do parents abandon their newborns? • Babies have been abandoned for many reasons: • Mother denies pregnancy, keeps it a secret, gives birth in private and abandons or kills the newborn • Mother's husband is not the father • Mother fears she doesn't have enough money to care for the infant • Mother has other children, can't afford to take care of another • Mother is afraid or ashamed to tell her parents or others • Mother is afraid of being abused if the pregnancy/newborn is discovered
More Reasons Cont… • Mother is afraid of the humiliation of having a baby out of wedlock • Pregnancy discovered too late • Infant is the result of rape or incest • Mother fears social services will take away her other children • Mother fears an ex-spouse will take her other children
Adoption • Every child deserves a safe, loving, permanent home. You can make plans to have your baby adopted even before giving birth. • For more information on adoption: Call the Illinois Adoption Registry 1-877-323-5299 (a free call in Illinois)
Contact Resources • Child Help USA (Abuse Hotline) • 1-800-422-4453 • Safe Haven Crisis Line • 1-888-510-BABY (1-888-510-2229) • Save Abandoned Babies Foundation • 312-440-0229www.SaveAbandonedBabies.org • Safe Haven PSA • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY1YH1lqsN0 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NRNQmtUAUg
Shaken Baby Syndrome • SBS/AHT (shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma) • is a term used to describe the signs and symptoms resulting from violent shaking to the head of an infant or small child • SBS is the leading cause of child abuse deaths in the United States - CDC
What happens? • The brain rotates within the skull cavity, injuring or destroying brain tissue. • When shaking occurs, blood vessels feeding the brain can be torn, leading to bleeding around the brain. • Blood pools within the skull, sometimes creating more pressure within the skull and possibly causing additional brain damage. • Retinal (back of the eye) bleeding is very common
Why does it happen? • Why: • Often, perpetrators shake an infant or child out of frustration or anger. Inconsolable crying is a primary trigger for shaking a baby. • Other triggering events include toilet training difficulties and feeding problems.
Signs & Symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome • There are various signs and symptoms of shaken baby syndrome. • The consequences of less severe cases may not be brought to the attention of medical professionals and may never be diagnosed. • In most severe cases, the child usually becomes immediately unconscious and suffers rapidly escalating, life-threatening central nervous system dysfunction. • Any of these injuries can lead to severe disability or death. • If you suspect a child has been shaken, seek medical attention • This could be the difference between life and death.
Signs & Symptoms Cont… • Poor sucking or swallowing • Rigidity or posturing • Difficulty breathing • Seizures • Inability to lift head • Inability of eyes to focus or track movement or unequal size of pupils • Common Physical Signs/Symptoms • Lethargy / decreased muscle tone • Extreme irritability • Decreased appetite, poor feeding or vomiting for no apparent reason • Grab-type bruises on arms or chest are rare • No smiling or vocalization
Consequences of SBS • Immediate Consequences: • Breathing may stop or be compromised • Extreme irritability • Limp arms and legs or rigidity/posturing • Decreased level of consciousness • Vomiting; poor feeding • Inability to suck or swallow • Heart may stop • Death
Consequences of SBS • Long-Term Consequences: • Learning disabilities • Physical disabilities • Visual disabilities or blindness • Hearing impairment • Speech disabilities • Cerebral Palsy • Seizures • Behavior disorders • Cognitive impairment • Death