Parents have a new set of safe havens if they want to give up newborns anonymously.
Thanks to a new law put on the books today, parents can leave babies at police departments of state or private universities or at Illinois State Police district headquarters around the state.
“Every parent wants their child to be raised in a healthy, happy environment,” said Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed the measure into law today at the University of Illinois-Chicago. “Expanding our safe haven laws to include universities and Illinois State Police facilities will help make sure that more parents are able to relinquish infants in a safe and legal way.”
The Quinn administration said no other state in the nation has designated campus police offices as a safe haven for abandoned newborns. The law takes effect immediately.
The new law, sponsored by Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, adds to a growing list of locations where unwanted and unharmed babies can be left without a parent facing prosecution. The safe haven law already allowed parents to leave a child at places like a city's police station, firehouse or county sheriff's headquarters. Parents can give up their child anonymously to people who work at these locations without fear of prosecution.
The purpose of the statute is to provide a safe haven for newborns believed to be 30 days old or less. The locations give parents options for leaving their babies and giving them a better chance to live. It’s an attempt to prevent irrational acts that have ended with a parent putting a newborn into a Dumpster or leaving a baby on a front porch on a cold winter’s night.
Since 2001, there have 64 newborns left at safe haven locations, officials said