HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With recent research showing an increase in teen pregnancies nationwide, acting Secretary of Public Welfare Harriet Dichter today reminded parents that Pennsylvania's Safe Haven program provides a safe and confidential option to protect infants.
"Even for the most seasoned parents, having a newborn can be overwhelming," Dichter said. "Caring for a child brings with it great responsibility that some soon-to-be parents may not be ready to undertake. Pennsylvania's Safe Haven program works to prevent harm to children when expectant parents aren't prepared for what parenthood brings."
Pennsylvania's safe haven law took effect seven years ago this month. It allows parents to confidentially turn over unwanted infants, up to 28 days old, to any hospital as an alternative to abandonment.
There are more than 250 hospitals in Pennsylvania where parents may safely surrender a baby if they fear they cannot care for the child. Babies can be handed over to any hospital staff member. If the parent is unwilling or unable to wait, they should look for signs instructing them to where to safely place the baby. As long as the child is unharmed, parents will not be asked any questions.
While it is recommended, it is not required that the parent provide medical information for the child. A baby turned over to a hospital will receive necessary medical care after which time the county's child and youth agency will work to find the child a family through the state's foster care system.
To date, 13 babies have been saved through the program, including a set of twins in Washington County.
To learn more about the Safe Haven program, visit www.secretsafe.org or call, toll-free, 1-866-921-SAFE (7233).
Media contact: Stacey Witalec, 717-787-4592
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare