Friday, 28 May 2010 08:13
The North Massapequa Fire District Board of Commissioners recently passed a board resolution to designate its two firehouses as official “Safe Havens” for abandoned newborns. Now, birth mothers are provided with another outlet to relinquish custody of their newborns in a safe manner and not be held criminally liable for abandonment. The program will be run according to the New York State “Safe Haven” law and guidelines provided by the AMT Children of Hope Foundation.
The foundation was founded in 1998 by members of the Ambulance Medical Technicians (AMT) of the Nassau County Police Department, who joined forces to help save the lives of infants who have been abandoned. Without regard to race, color, age, creed or national origin and in the capacity as EMS providers, the North Massapequa Fire Department will accept a newborn from a parent or guardian who wishes to relinquish custody. Then, fire department officials will refer to the appropriate government agency or other non-profit social service agencies capable of providing advice and counsel to the pre and postpartum person, if the need arises.
By providing a safe haven, the district is allowing a despondent parent to abandon an infant with dignity in a safe manner, to help insure the safety and well being of the newborn as well as the parent. The goal is to prevent someone from considering any other option.
Volunteer members of the department give many hours of their personal time to protect and assist the people who live in the community. By signing on to the program, they can now offer added protection to the littlest and most helpless citizens. The department is proud to have received this AMT Children of Hope Foundation designation. The membership is in consensus that, if it saves one life, it is worth the effort.
New York State law allows a mother who believes she cannot care for her baby to legally leave the newborn at a number of locations, including police precincts, firehouses, hospitals, churches or with any responsible adult willing to accept the baby and call proper authorities. Over the past decade, safe haven laws have been adopted in all 50 states and 2,636 babies have been safely relinquished.
North Massapequa Fire Department firehouses are located at 960 Hicksville Rd. in Seaford and 1000 Broadway in North Massapequa. The AMT Children of Hope Foundation Crisis Hotline can be accessed any time of day or night at 1 (817) 796-HOPE (4673).