Safe Haven for Newborns

PLAINS TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Less than a week after a baby was found dead near a fire pit in Luzerne County, health officials wanted to bring attention to Pennsylvania's Safe Haven law. It gives parents the ability to drop an infant off with no penalty, no questions asked.

Health experts admit that raising a child can be a challenge and not everyone is ready for the responsibility.

If parents feel they are not up to the challenge the Safe Haven law is an option.

Inside the sliding door at Geisinger Wyoming Valley near Wilkes-Barre, there is one crib -- a crib marked for safe haven, a safe spot for parents to drop off a baby they may not want.

Health officials are spotlighting safe haven after a search warrant showed a mom near Shickshinny put her one-day old child in a garbage bag near a burn pit Saturday.

"We see the stories all the time about people who leave their babies in garbage bags or leave their babies in bathrooms and things like that. We want to respect the life of that child," said Dr. Ronald Strony.

The Safe Haven law allows a newborn 28 days old or younger to be dropped off at a hospital or with a police officer at a police station.

"A mother can drop off that baby without any repercussions as long as the baby is not injured or harmed in any shape or fashion," said Dr. Strony.

Right above the crib, there is a camera which is closely watched by hospital staff 24/7.

Dr. Strony says this crib is in a private area in the hospital and a parent could wait with the baby until a nurse responds or they can just leave again, no questions asked.

"As soon as that baby is dropped off, we are there in minutes and that baby is identified for care," Dr. Strony explained.

After the baby gets the initial care by the hospital, he or she is taken into care by Children and Youth Services.

"As long as the child is not abused or neglected, they will then notify the county youth agency and then from there, we take the baby and place it in an adoptive resource home," said Deanna German, Luzerne County Children and Youth Services.

The case of the child found dead in Luzerne County is still under investigation.

Get more information on how you can find the nearest safe haven in your area.

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