Wednesday, September 13, 2000

No newborns given up since program's start

Sponsors still getting word out

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A month after launching a “Secret, Safe Place for Newborns” program, no one has visited a Hamilton County hospital to drop off an unwanted baby.

        The service was launched Aug. 7 by a collection of county hospitals and child-service and law-enforcement agencies as a way to prevent infants from being killed or abandoned by panicked parents.

        Parents can take a baby less than 3 days old to any hospital emergency department in the county, hand the baby to any staff member wearing a hospital ID, and walk away. As long as the baby appears unharmed, no hospital staff person will ask for the parents' names. No county police agency or prosecutor will press child abandonment charges.

        Officials have drawn no conclusions based on the program's first month because no one was sure how often it might be used, said Nancy Strassel, a spokeswoman for the Greater Cincinnati Health Council.

        Sponsors are still working to publicize the service, she said.

       For information about “Secret, Safe Place for Newborns,” call the United Way Helpline: 721-7900.


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