Local health officials remind the public of Safe Haven Law - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Local health officials remind the public of Safe Haven Law

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While St. Joseph County Metro Homicide is still investigating the death of an infant found in a shopping center dumpster Sunday, health officials say this event gives them an opportunity to remind the public of Safe Haven Laws.

In Indiana, a mother can leave her infant-younger than 30 days-at a hospital, fire department, or police department, no questions asked.

Keely Paston, administrative director at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center says no mother has brought a child to their hospital in the 13 years Indiana has been under this law and that may be because the public is uninformed. "We really, really need to get the message out there to the schools and all those settings so they know there is an option."

Under the Safe Haven Law, a baby can be dropped off by the mother or a friend or priest and all their information is confidential. She says the baby will be examined at the hospital and a physician will contact Child Protective Services who will then place the child in a safe place.

She says this is a free and safe option for mothers. "It's the right thing to do and women are so scared at that time and they just need to know they don't have to just dispose the baby, they can really bring it to a safe place and it's a great decision and choice."

She says it's important that police, fire, and health care employees understand the law and make the mother feel safe. "They have to feel protected or they're not going to do it."

Paston says it can be a traumatizing situation for the mother or family, which is why the hospital offers support.

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