SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Diane Pappas, D-Itasca, is promoting an Illinois law which allows parents to leave unwanted children under 30-days old at hospitals, fire stations or police stations without questioning, identification or legal consequences.
“New parents who are unable to care for their child need to know they have somewhere to turn, otherwise babies will continue to be abandoned,” Pappas said. “There was a recent case in which a Chicago parent left their newborn on a trash can, and while emergency services saved the child, things often don’t turn out as well. It’s crucial parents know they have a safe, legal option for letting their child go.”
Pappas is advocating for Illinois’ Safe Haven Law, also known as the Illinois Abandoned Newborn and Infant Protection Act, which allows parents to leave babies younger than 30-days-old at police stations, fire stations or hospitals without having to answer questions, give personal information, pay any money or worry about the baby’s medical care.
This law was passed in 2001 following several high-profile child abandonment cases. The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services estimated that 32 babies under 30-days-old were abandoned every year prior to the law. Since then, that number has dropped significantly, but incidents still occur.
“Our emergency and family services are ready to care for children in need of medical care and a home,” Pappas said. “No child should ever suffer such a terrible fate, and new parents need to be aware of what they should do if they cannot care for their child.”