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Norwalk Officials Applaud Law That Provides Save Havens For Newborns

State Reps. Gail Lavielle, Fred Wilms and Terrie Wood along with Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine Dr. Benjamin Greenblatt and Patient Care manager Lorraine Salavec pose for a photo at Norwalk Hospital Monday.
State Reps. Gail Lavielle, Fred Wilms and Terrie Wood along with Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine Dr. Benjamin Greenblatt and Patient Care manager Lorraine Salavec pose for a photo at Norwalk Hospital Monday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
State Reps. Gail Lavielle, Fred Wilms and Terrie Wood along with Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine Dr. Benjamin Greenblatt and Patient Care Manager Lorraine Salavec pose for a photo at Norwalk Hospital on Monday.
State Reps. Gail Lavielle, Fred Wilms and Terrie Wood along with Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine Dr. Benjamin Greenblatt and Patient Care Manager Lorraine Salavec pose for a photo at Norwalk Hospital on Monday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

NORWALK, Conn. — Legislators and Norwalk Hospital officials gathered Monday to recognize a law that provides a safe haven for newborns in the hospital’s emergency room — and in ERs across the state.

“It’s an incredible law that is meant to protect the most vulnerable population that we have — newborn babies,” said Dr. Benjamin Greenblatt, the hospital’s emergency medicine department chairman.

Connecticut’s safe havens law allows anyone to drop off an infant — 30 days old or younger — at any Connecticut emergency room.

Norwalk Hospital and Danbury Hospital are available as safe havens — both are members of the Western Connecticut Health Network — a spokesman emphasized Monday.

Greenblatt said that parents are not required to give their names and no questions are asked so long is the child is not harmed. Parents can volunteer additional information about their child, but the information is not mandatory.

“They are free to do so, but it is not required,” Greenblatt said.

Although the law was passed in 2000, the legislators marked their first Annual Connecticut Safe Havens Awareness Day on Monday. The General Assembly passed legislation to designate the day in 2015.

State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) said the day makes parents aware that safe havens are available.

“This awareness day serves a purpose for brining people up to speed and informing them about this law that they wouldn’t have known about otherwise,” said Lavielle, who represents Norwalk, Westport and Wilton. “It’s a way for both the baby and the mother to avoid a terribly tragedy.”

The law provides an alternative to abandonment, which often results in the death of the baby as well as incarceration and trauma for the parents, according to legislators.

Since the law’s passage, more than two dozen infants have been dropped off at Connecticut hospitals, according to legislators.

In January, two babies were safely dropped off in a single day at hospitals in Hartford and Southington. One baby was dropped off in Middletown in February, according to legislators.

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