Can’t keep your newborn? Don’t know what to do?
Firefighters are a tough lot. They have many jobs to do and it seems like their list gets longer and longer. They rush in to a burning building when others are rushing out. They go into homes as first responders never knowing what they will find.
Versailles Fire Chief Ben Sieverding noted that in the last two months their department has responded to 145 calls, all suited up due to the coronavirus. “They go through a de-con (decontamination) process after they are in a home,” he says.
In addition to dealing with the virus, the Versailles crew also responded in full force to the recent tornado. To add to everything they already do, they have taken on a new project called Safe Haven because they feel it’s important. The project aims to save the lives of the most vulnerable in our society – babies.
Chief Sieverding explained that they went through a certification process, worked with the alliance that initiated the program, and are now able to accept your baby into Safe Haven if you can’t care for the little bundle of joy.
There are many reasons a mother feels she cannot keep a child, and this is a safe zone that many people may have never heard about. Some women choose abortion, some choose adoption, but what if you don’t know what to do?
At the Versailles Fire Station there is a sign that says Safe Babies Safe Place Safe Haven. If you have a baby you want to place in the Safe Haven program, call 1-888-510-BABY (2229) and someone will give you instructions. You will remain anonymous and someone will come for the baby. It’s that simple.
While it’s hard for some people to imagine that a mother would leave her baby, it’s a fact of life.
The law that allows surrender of a baby that cannot be taken care of by the parent saves babies from unsafe abandonment. It notes that parents who do not harm their baby will not be prosecuted for abandonment if they hand their newborn to a responsible adult at a Safe Haven location. According to information from the National Safe Haven Alliance, Inc. website, this gives a desperate parent a responsible alternative.
Some places literally have a box where you can surrender your baby if you cannot take care of it. That is not the case with the Safe Haven project in which the Versailles firefighters are involved. Please do not leave your baby on their doorstep, but instead call the listed number and someone will take care of you.
Indiana law allows a distressed parent to give up an unwanted infant safely, legally, and confidentially. This preserves the parent from arrest or prosecution for abandonment and requires no names or records. Babies less than 30-days-old can be given up at any emergency medical services provider or hospital in Indiana. It also allows the birth mother the availability of medical treatment and social services. The child is placed into the custody of the Indiana Division of Family & Social Services Administration, which in turn puts the infant in a foster or pre-adoptive home.
As Mother’s Day has come and gone for another year, this Save Haven place in Versailles could relieve a mother who for any reason cannot keep her newborn. There is no judgment, just a safe place for your baby.
With all the duties of the firefighters, Chief Sieverding says this is not a burden. This is a way to help the community, something firefighters have pledged to do. They get nothing from their duties, except the satisfaction they have helped someone that day.