April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child advocates across the United States are especially concerned about the safety of newborns during COVID-19.
“An unexpected pregnancy can cause tremendous stress. With the added burden of the Coronavirus pandemic and all it entails, that stress may seem unbearable,” says Anne Biswell, an advocate with the Safe Haven for Newborns Coalition of Greater Kansas City. “We don’t want an innocent child being a victim of a parent’s panic.”
No one ever has to abandon an infant. There is a safe, anonymous alternative to harming or leaving a baby in an unsafe place. Every hospital, fire station and police station across the states of Missouri and Kansas will accept an infant – no questions asked – through the Safe Place for Newborns law. In Kansas, all health departments are also Safe Havens. In Missouri, all pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes (supportive housing for pregnant women) are Safe Havens as well. Every state has similar laws.
“The Safe Place for Newborns law exists to provide a safety net to prevent child abuse and abandonment, and to protect the relinquishing parent from prosecution,” says Tracy Russell, Executive Director of Nurture KC. “Providing options to keep infants safe is more important now than ever.”
Nurture KC has been a strong supporter of the Safe Haven for Newborns Coalition of Greater Kansas City since its inception in 2009. Nurture KC has facilitated many of the group’s activities and underwritten expenses, and its web site includes a list of helpful resources at: https://nurturekc.org/resources/#safehaven