Baby left under Safe Haven law

LEWISTON — A boy born May 31 at Central Maine Medical Center has been abandoned under the state's Safe Haven law, which has been used sparingly since it took effect in 2002, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesman said Friday.

The child is referred to as "Safe Haven Baby Boy" in a legal notice in the Sun Journal on Friday, which also says "the parents of the child are unknown." The notice gives them time to step forward to request a hearing and legal counsel or risk losing parental rights.

In Maine, parents can leave a baby less than a month old with police, hospital staff or medical service providers without repercussion. The person receiving the baby can ask about the date of birth and medical history but can't detain the parents or contact them in the future.

The legal notice says where the baby was born but not when or where he was left. Police Lt. Mark Cornelio said to his knowledge, police weren't involved. A call for comment to CMMC wasn't returned.

"The Safe Haven law assures that the court file is sealed and all information regarding the case is protected," DHHS spokesman John Martins said. "(It) has been rarely used in Maine, with less than a half-dozen cases since the law took effect."

The baby remains in state custody. DHHS policy is to place the boy with a family willing to adopt him or to work toward reunification if the parents come forward. His case is scheduled for a hearing in front of Lewiston District Court Judge John Beliveau at 2 p.m. on Sept. 8. It will be Beliveau's third Safe Haven case since the law took effect. The last was in 2009. He said Friday he couldn't comment, citing the statute.

Former state Sen. Marge Kilkelly of Dresden, who sponsored Maine's law, told the Sun Journal in 2009 that her bill saw a lot of debate, with legislators wondering how often babies would be left.

"If it saves a child's life and also supports what, for some parents, is the best decision they can make, it's done its job," she said at the time.

kskelton@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Martha Burnell's picture

sorry about the double post.

sorry about the double post. I can't find an option to delete one of them

Martha Burnell's picture

unselfish

I look on this as one of the ultimate acts of unselfishness on the part of the mother. This has to be one of the most difficult decisions she's ever had to make. I commend her for putting her baby's welfare ahead of her own.

Martha Burnell's picture

unselfish

I look on this as one of the ultimate acts of unselfishness on the part of the mother. This has to be one of the most difficult decisions she's ever had to make. I commend her for putting her baby's welfare ahead of her own.

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

You don't get to judge.

This is a legal and safe alternative and the mother chose to take it. This is a loved child, and a lucky one.

Denisa Laflamme's picture

Circumstances

I agree with you Lori, we don't know this woman's circumstances, how do we know she wasn't raped but couldn't go through with an abortion, or that she sufferd from abuse but doesn't feel she can leave and doesn't want her baby abused, or she doesn't have the means to care for him...she did what she thought was best for him and that is what counts...that baby could have been a sad deadly statistic instead he has a chance of being adopted by a loving family.....this mother did the hardest thing a mother could do to give up her child and I bet she is missing her baby and wishes she could have kept him....but knows she did what was best for him.....my heart goes out to her because I couldn't imagine being in that situation....I am just glad that she had an option and that baby is alive and safe.

For those that feel the need to trash this woman...think about what you say before you say it, you don't know her or what she is going through or has been through.

Lori D'Amico's picture

Baby Boy

I know there are some that will say "How could a mother and/or father do this? How could they give up their infant and walk away, not knowing where he will end up?" But I also recall reading MANY articles over the years about infants and children who were harmed or even killed by their parents and THEN the comments inevitably include "If only I had known, I'd have taken him or her and given the child a good home!"
That said, I do not know the birth mother's circumstances nor the birth father. What I DO know from this article is that rather than smother the baby, leave him in a dumpster somewhere, or otherwise harm him, this woman chose to act in what she felt were her child's best interests and I can only commend her for that!! She acted WITHIN THE LAW to protect someone that cannot protect or speak for himself and whether or not this precious little boy ever gets to know his birth mother personally, I hope when he's old enough he can know that she is one courageous lady and wanted only the best for him!

Sharon Lancaster's picture

The baby is safe. That is all

The baby is safe. That is all that matters now.

Joe Gremo's picture

baby boy

How can a mother after laboring for 9 months just give her baby away I dont understand it.

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