Dutchess County Healthy Families Program Will Host Community Education Event to Prevent Infant Abandonment

On Thursday, February 20 from 10:00am to 12:00pm, the public is invited to hear Timothy Jaccard, Director of Baby Safe Haven, at the Family Partnership Auditorium, 29 North Hamilton Street. (Parking available across the street.)

Mr. Jaccard will train community leaders, health professionals, social service professionals, police and other residents of Dutchess County to address the problem of infant abandonment. Mr. Jaccard will also discuss a little known state law that permits women to bring their babies to a designated safe place or a responsible individual. The Abandoned Infant Protection Law, commonly referred to as the Safe Haven Law, allows a mother to relinquish custody of an infant, up to thirty days old, in a safe manner and not be criminally liable for abandonment.

The program was developed to address problems like the tragic discovery of the body of a newborn baby, known as “Baby Hope,” at the Elmsford Recycling Center on November 10, 2013. “We must make sure that nothing like this ever happens in Dutchess County,” said Dr. Virna Little, Dutchess Healthy Families Program. “While we recognize that most people would never choose to abandon an infant, we need to do everything we can to reach the few who might be desperate enough to do so. Our goal is to get the word out to police, hospitals, local organizations — anyone who might come into contact with young women, and let them know they have a safe place to go if all else fails.”

The program is sponsored by Dutchess County Healthy Families, a project of the Institute for Family Health, and the Dutchess County Department of Health, Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network, Hudson River Health Care, and Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services.