New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony Bucco

Senator Anthony Bucco

Bucco’s Bill to Improve Teens’ Awareness of ‘Safe Haven Act’ Passes Committee

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Program Allows Newborns and Infants to Be Surrendered Safely, Anonymously & Legally

Senator Anthony Bucco’s (S-25) legislation to ensure that high school students are aware of the “New Jersey Safe Haven Protection Act” has unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee.

Sen. Anthony Bucco’s (S-25) legislation to ensure that high school students are aware of the “New Jersey Safe Haven Protection Act” unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee. (NJDCF)

“Teenage parents often hide pregnancies to avoid punishment from parents, and they’re among the most likely to abandon a newborn baby in an unsafe manner,” Bucco said. “New Jersey’s Safe Haven Act has proven to saves lives by giving parents who may not want a child a safe, anonymous, and legal way to surrender a baby. We need to make sure that all of our students understand this option, which can protect a baby from harm and prevent teen parents from making extremely bad choices that may send them to jail.”

Bucco’s bill, S-1126, requires high school students to be taught the provisions of the “New Jersey Safe Haven Protection Act” in health and physical education classes. Bucco was the original sponsor of the “New Jersey Safe Haven Protection Act,” which was signed into law in 2000.

This act permits individuals – parents or someone acting on their behalf – to anonymously surrender a baby up to one month old to any New Jersey hospital, police station, fire station, ambulance, first aid, and rescue squad that are operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families immediately takes a surrendered child into custody and works to place them into the pre-adoption process or foster care.

In 2015, Bucco succeeded in expanding the locations that serve as ‘safe havens’ to include fire stations and ambulance, first aid, and rescue squads.

He said there are still too many instances of newborns and infants being abandoned in an unsafe manner, perhaps due to a lack of knowledge that ‘Safe Havens’ exist.

“I hope that expanding awareness of the Safe Haven program to high school students will prevent cases of illegal abandonment and offer others the opportunity to adopt a child into a loving family,” Bucco added. “We’ve already saved the lives of at least sixty newborns through this program, and I have no doubt we can save even more through better education.”

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