Safe Haven laws should have prevented baby Noah's death - – Rockford’s News Leader

Safe Haven laws should have prevented baby Noah's death

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If baby Noah was born alive, Illinois has a law in place designed to prevent what happened today.

Safe havens are places like police and fire stations or hospitals. Where parents can give up a child, younger than 30 days old, no questions asked. Statistics show havens work. Had baby Noah's parents used one, he might still be alive.

"We didn't even know what it was. We thought it was a dead animal, but once we got closer it was a baby."

That's how John Silverio, an employee at One Source Recycling Center, describes finding an infant boy's body.

The recycling plant sent workers home to give them time to deal with what they saw. Part of the tragedy in this boy's death is that it could have all been prevented.

In 2001 Illinois enacted the abandoned newborn infant protection act. In fact, Rockford Memorial Hospital was the first in the state to take a baby under the law. Since then 74 children have been safely given up across the state.

In that same time span 65 were found illegally abandoned. Nearly half died.

Nancy Gaziano volunteers with the save abandoned babies foundation. The group lobbied for the safe haven law and works now to raise awareness.

She tells me, Every time we have a safe relinquishment, she sees it as saving two lives since the parent does not face charges for abandonment or worse, as long as the baby is handed over unharmed.

Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato believes not enough people make use of the safe havens.

"Individuals find themselves in positions where having to have to care for or attempt to raise a child is not something that they're going to be able to do and they need to know what the options are. That this is an option. This is a legal and safe option for a child."

Winnebago County Sheriff's Police ask the public for help. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff's Department or make an anonymous tip to CrimeStoppers at 815 - 963 - 7867.

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