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  • MA - Safe Haven now a law

    MASSACHUSETTS
    http://www2.townonline.com/lexington...ticleid=123476

    By Jennifer Kavanaugh and Brian Kelly
    Thursday, November 11, 2004

    For the first time in this state, parents who want to give up their newborns
    have another option - one that public health officials hope won't result in
    tragic results for the baby or legal trouble for the parent.

    On Oct. 29, the state's new Baby Safe Haven law took effect. The measure
    allows parents to leave unwanted newborns at the "safe havens" of hospitals,
    police departments and fire stations without fear of prosecution - assuming the
    baby is unharmed and is handed over to an actual employee, and not just left.

    A week after the law took effect, local police and fire departments said
    they're still developing specific policies for such situations. But if the
    first baby arrived today, officials said, they would be ready.

    "I would hope no one would feel so desperate that they felt that this is
    the only thing they could do," said Hopkinton Police Chief Thomas Irvin.
    "Certainly, if they felt they had no other option, we're open. This is one of
    the safe havens, and I would hope that they would come to us."

    Massachusetts is one of the last states to get a safe haven law. The push
    for such laws came in the aftermath of several high-profile cases in which
    infants were found dead or abandoned in cemeteries, trash cans, or other unsafe
    locations.

    The proposed law had faced obstacles, as some politicians questioned
    whether it would have unintended problems, or make things more difficult for
    children later on if they didn't know anything about their backgrounds or
    medical histories. But eventually compromises were reached.

    "What I'm hoping is that we never see another headline about an abandoned
    baby that has died unnecessarily," said state Rep. Stephen LeDuc,
    D-Marlborough. As chairman of the Legislative Children's Caucus, he helped get
    the law passed.

    LeDuc said legislators were able to answer concerns by putting a sunset
    provision in the law, meaning the law will expire on June 30, 2008. That way,
    he said, they will be able to review how well the law has worked before
    deciding whether to continue it.

    Through the law, officials want to encourage parents who would have
    avoided a public surrender of an infant, for fear of prosecution for child
    endangerment or abandonment, but who now will get immunity if the child has not
    been harmed.

    The state Department of Social Services has set up a Web site,
    www.babysafehaven.com, and other public outreach efforts are under way. DSS
    plans to start running TV and radio spots in December, as well as creating
    "safe haven" posters, said DSS spokesman Denise Monteiro.

    "We want to reach the younger kids who will be most affected by the law,"
    Monteiro said. "We've found it's the young kids who are hiding their
    pregnancies and who are panicking."

    Lexington residents Michael and Jean Morrissey advocated strongly for Baby
    Safe Havens and helped get the law passed in Massachusetts. The Morrisseys
    believe that in order for the law to have a positive impact, the public must be
    aware of it. One way to ensure that, according to Michael, is to clearly mark
    and designate "safe havens" with signage.

    But he was stunned last week when the Lexington Historic District
    Commission "halted one of the most important points of implementation" of the
    law by turning down his requests to put signs up on the police station and both
    fire stations.

    While HDC Chairman Joanne Gschwendtner "admire[s]" Morrissey's "incredible
    passion," she said his request could not be approved because "the only people
    who can authorize signage to be put on town buildings are town [officials]."
    Because Morrissey "had no documentation of support" from the town, Gschwendtner
    said the HDC's meeting with him "was not really a valid hearing" and "we could
    take legal action other than to tell him we could not support it verbally."

    "They wanted to put signage on the outside of some town-owned buildings,
    and the HDC does not want to see that," said Gschwendtner. "We do not have
    jurisdiction over putting a small sign on the interior of a building near a
    door, and we would be perfectly happy to see [signs] put up in windows, but
    this is something they wish to have up permanently. ... You can't have signage
    put up on buildings for each and every issue."

    According to Morrissey, Massachusetts is "the 46th state to pass the law,"
    and there's been "five years of trial and error on this."

    "It's not as though we want to do something that hasn't been done before.
    The reason the signs are there is to literally direct somebody to the right
    door or the right place rather than have a baby left in the cold, or the heat
    for that matter, which can be extremely dangerous," said Morrissey, noting that
    the standard signs are generally 9-by-12 inches. "Visually, these signs attract
    somebody when they're in a panic situation and aren't always thinking clearly.
    These will provide some very simply instructions."

    The Lexington advocate has no problem adhering to the HDC's potential size
    and color demands for signs because he doesn't want to be "inappropriate to
    history," but he made it clear that he does still plan on putting them up at
    the Police Station and the fire stations on Bedford Street and Massachusetts
    Avenue.

    "We're going to push to do this anyway," said Morrissey. "We're not trying
    to be inappropriate to history, but sometimes you have to look at what history
    you are making. We don't want history to show that somebody left a baby outside
    a doorway and something disastrous happened."

    Board of Selectmen Chairman Dawn McKenna knows "there is clearly a concern
    about putting permanent signage on town buildings for things that aren't town
    functions," but she feels something can be done to "celebrate this important
    victory (the passage of the law) on a temporary basis." Lexington Police Chief
    Christopher Casey said "providing some public awareness would be helpful," and
    both he and Lexington Fire Chief William Middlemiss will work with Morrissey to
    find an "accommodation that can meet everybody's needs."

    According to Monteiro, the state is still deciding on a hot line to
    publicize, but wants to ensure that the service used is neutral and isn't
    trying to push any agendas on vulnerable people seeking help.

    And as for the safe haven program, Monteiro said, DSS wants to promote it
    as a last resort, and is trying to strike the balance "between letting people
    know that it exists, but not encouraging it."

    Under the law, a parent or guardian can take a newborn, seven days old or
    younger to a safe haven. The facility has to be staffed, though, to ensure a
    baby is not left unattended.

    At fire and police departments, workers are supposed to take children to
    the hospital to make sure they are healthy. Then authorities are supposed to
    contact DSS, which will take custody of the child.

    The person dropping off the baby doesn't have to provide any information,
    but will be encouraged to offer details to assist with the child's safe
    placement and future medical care.

    The state Department of Social Services has set up a Web site,
    www.babysafehaven.com, with information about the law and frequently asked
    questions.


  • #2
    MA - Safe Haven now a law


    "BabySafeHaven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    MASSACHUSETTS http://www2.townonline.com/lexington...ticleid=123476 By Jennifer Kavanaugh and Brian Kelly Thursday, November 11, 2004 For the first time in this state, parents who want to give up their newborns have another option - one that public health officials hope won't result in tragic results for the baby or legal trouble for the parent. On Oct. 29, the state's new Baby Safe Haven law took effect. The measure allows parents to leave unwanted newborns at the "safe havens" of hospitals, police departments and fire stations without fear of prosecution - assuming the baby is unharmed and is handed over to an actual employee, and not just left.
    Yes. Recently MA revealed that forty percent of the children adopted have
    gone to gay and lesbian families. Critics said, "Almost no attention has
    been devoted to ... who will supply the children of gay "parents," since
    obviously they cannot produce children themselves."

    Whoops. Appears someone has devoted attention to the 'problem'!

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=39222



    Comment


    • #3
      MA - Safe Haven now a law

      Thanks. I'm familiar with Baskerville who is widely considered a nut even
      if he's a professor at Howard. This is pretty funny, though. A rightwing
      anti-adoption rant.

      Marley


      "Jurrasic Perogie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
      news:[email protected]
      "BabySafeHaven" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
      MASSACHUSETTS http://www2.townonline.com/lexington...ticleid=123476 By Jennifer Kavanaugh and Brian Kelly Thursday, November 11, 2004 For the first time in this state, parents who want to give up their newborns have another option - one that public health officials hope won't result in tragic results for the baby or legal trouble for the parent. On Oct. 29, the state's new Baby Safe Haven law took effect. The measure allows parents to leave unwanted newborns at the "safe havens" of hospitals, police departments and fire stations without fear of prosecution - assuming the baby is unharmed and is handed over to an actual employee, and not just left.
      Yes. Recently MA revealed that forty percent of the children adopted have gone to gay and lesbian families. Critics said, "Almost no attention has been devoted to ... who will supply the children of gay "parents," since obviously they cannot produce children themselves." Whoops. Appears someone has devoted attention to the 'problem'! http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=39222

      Comment


      • #4
        MA - Safe Haven now a law


        "Jurrasic Perogie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
        news:[email protected]
        "BabySafeHaven" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
        MASSACHUSETTS http://www2.townonline.com/lexington...ticleid=123476 By Jennifer Kavanaugh and Brian Kelly Thursday, November 11, 2004 For the first time in this state, parents who want to give up their newborns have another option - one that public health officials hope won't result in tragic results for the baby or legal trouble for the parent. On Oct. 29, the state's new Baby Safe Haven law took effect. The measure allows parents to leave unwanted newborns at the "safe havens" of hospitals, police departments and fire stations without fear of prosecution - assuming the baby is unharmed and is handed over to an actual employee, and not just left.
        Yes. Recently MA revealed that forty percent of the children adopted have gone to gay and lesbian families. Critics said, "Almost no attention has been devoted to ... who will supply the children of gay "parents," since obviously they cannot produce children themselves." Whoops. Appears someone has devoted attention to the 'problem'! http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=39222
        Oh oh. Does this mean that the Great Gay Adoption Conspiracy will soon
        replace the old Great Jewish Adoption Conspiracy (old timers will remember
        that one) that used to be popular here on aa?

        Marley

        Comment


        • #5
          MA - Safe Haven now a law

          A couple comments:

          1) What does this mean? What's a public surrender?
          Through the law, officials want to encourage parents who would haveavoided a public surrender of an infant, for fear of prosecution for childendangerment or abandonment, but who now will get immunity if the child has
          not>been harmed.
          People walk out of hospitals without their babies all the time and nobody
          prosecutes them? Have these pols ever bought a clue about relinquishment
          and adoptio practice?

          2) Who is we and what are the sources?
          "We want to reach the younger kids who will be most affected by the law," Monteiro said. "We've found it's the young kids who are hiding their pregnancies and who are panicking."
          3) Just curious. On your midnight ride through Massachusetts, did you have
          permission to post signs on those other buildings?
          "They wanted to put signage on the outside of some town-owned buildings,and the HDC does not want to see that," said Gschwendtner. "We do not havejurisdiction over putting a small sign on the interior of a building near adoor, and we would be perfectly happy to see [signs] put up in windows, butthis is something they wish to have up permanently. ... You can't havesignageput up on buildings for each and every issue."
          Marley








          "BabySafeHaven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
          news:[email protected]
          MASSACHUSETTS http://www2.townonline.com/lexington...ticleid=123476 By Jennifer Kavanaugh and Brian Kelly Thursday, November 11, 2004 For the first time in this state, parents who want to give up their newborns have another option - one that public health officials hope won't result in tragic results for the baby or legal trouble for the parent. On Oct. 29, the state's new Baby Safe Haven law took effect. The measure allows parents to leave unwanted newborns at the "safe havens" of hospitals, police departments and fire stations without fear of prosecution - assuming the baby is unharmed and is handed over to an actual employee, and not just left. A week after the law took effect, local police and fire departments said they're still developing specific policies for such situations. But if the first baby arrived today, officials said, they would be ready. "I would hope no one would feel so desperate that they felt that this is the only thing they could do," said Hopkinton Police Chief Thomas Irvin. "Certainly, if they felt they had no other option, we're open. This is one of the safe havens, and I would hope that they would come to us." Massachusetts is one of the last states to get a safe haven law. The push for such laws came in the aftermath of several high-profile cases in which infants were found dead or abandoned in cemeteries, trash cans, or other unsafe locations. The proposed law had faced obstacles, as some politicians questioned whether it would have unintended problems, or make things more difficult for children later on if they didn't know anything about their backgrounds or medical histories. But eventually compromises were reached. "What I'm hoping is that we never see another headline about an abandoned baby that has died unnecessarily," said state Rep. Stephen LeDuc, D-Marlborough. As chairman of the Legislative Children's Caucus, he helped get the law passed. LeDuc said legislators were able to answer concerns by putting a sunset provision in the law, meaning the law will expire on June 30, 2008. That way, he said, they will be able to review how well the law has worked before deciding whether to continue it. Through the law, officials want to encourage parents who would have avoided a public surrender of an infant, for fear of prosecution for child endangerment or abandonment, but who now will get immunity if the child has not been harmed. The state Department of Social Services has set up a Web site, www.babysafehaven.com, and other public outreach efforts are under way. DSS plans to start running TV and radio spots in December, as well as creating "safe haven" posters, said DSS spokesman Denise Monteiro. "We want to reach the younger kids who will be most affected by the law," Monteiro said. "We've found it's the young kids who are hiding their pregnancies and who are panicking." Lexington residents Michael and Jean Morrissey advocated strongly for Baby Safe Havens and helped get the law passed in Massachusetts. The Morrisseys believe that in order for the law to have a positive impact, the public must be aware of it. One way to ensure that, according to Michael, is to clearly mark and designate "safe havens" with signage. But he was stunned last week when the Lexington Historic District Commission "halted one of the most important points of implementation" of the law by turning down his requests to put signs up on the police station and both fire stations. While HDC Chairman Joanne Gschwendtner "admire[s]" Morrissey's "incredible passion," she said his request could not be approved because "the only people who can authorize signage to be put on town buildings are town [officials]." Because Morrissey "had no documentation of support" from the town, Gschwendtner said the HDC's meeting with him "was not really a valid hearing" and "we could take legal action other than to tell him we could not support it verbally." "They wanted to put signage on the outside of some town-owned buildings, and the HDC does not want to see that," said Gschwendtner. "We do not have jurisdiction over putting a small sign on the interior of a building near a door, and we would be perfectly happy to see [signs] put up in windows, but this is something they wish to have up permanently. ... You can't have signage put up on buildings for each and every issue." According to Morrissey, Massachusetts is "the 46th state to pass the law," and there's been "five years of trial and error on this." "It's not as though we want to do something that hasn't been done before. The reason the signs are there is to literally direct somebody to the right door or the right place rather than have a baby left in the cold, or the heat for that matter, which can be extremely dangerous," said Morrissey, noting that the standard signs are generally 9-by-12 inches. "Visually, these signs attract somebody when they're in a panic situation and aren't always thinking clearly. These will provide some very simply instructions." The Lexington advocate has no problem adhering to the HDC's potential size and color demands for signs because he doesn't want to be "inappropriate to history," but he made it clear that he does still plan on putting them up at the Police Station and the fire stations on Bedford Street and Massachusetts Avenue. "We're going to push to do this anyway," said Morrissey. "We're not trying to be inappropriate to history, but sometimes you have to look at what history you are making. We don't want history to show that somebody left a baby outside a doorway and something disastrous happened." Board of Selectmen Chairman Dawn McKenna knows "there is clearly a concern about putting permanent signage on town buildings for things that aren't town functions," but she feels something can be done to "celebrate this important victory (the passage of the law) on a temporary basis." Lexington Police Chief Christopher Casey said "providing some public awareness would be helpful," and both he and Lexington Fire Chief William Middlemiss will work with Morrissey to find an "accommodation that can meet everybody's needs." According to Monteiro, the state is still deciding on a hot line to publicize, but wants to ensure that the service used is neutral and isn't trying to push any agendas on vulnerable people seeking help. And as for the safe haven program, Monteiro said, DSS wants to promote it as a last resort, and is trying to strike the balance "between letting people know that it exists, but not encouraging it." Under the law, a parent or guardian can take a newborn, seven days old or younger to a safe haven. The facility has to be staffed, though, to ensure a baby is not left unattended. At fire and police departments, workers are supposed to take children to the hospital to make sure they are healthy. Then authorities are supposed to contact DSS, which will take custody of the child. The person dropping off the baby doesn't have to provide any information, but will be encouraged to offer details to assist with the child's safe placement and future medical care. The state Department of Social Services has set up a Web site, www.babysafehaven.com, with information about the law and frequently asked questions.


          Comment

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