OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Osceola County Fire Rescue received a donation from Nemours Children’s Hospital on Wednesday to support “A Safe Haven for Newborns” program.
The program is a safety net to help pregnant girls or women who wish to legally surrender their infant. The program has been in place at all Osceola County fire stations since 2004.
Lars White, spokesperson and former fire chief, said the direct surrender of a newborn infant is in accordance with state law. The law allows anyone to leave a baby up to seven days old at a fire station or hospital.
About 340 babies have been surrendered through the Safe Haven program statewide in the last 20 years, according to White. Only three were surrendered in Osceola County.
White explained woman who surrender infants legally remains consistent in Florida though the goal is to continue educating women about their options before making a decision.
“The majority of the surrender infants, about 65 to 70%, are at the hospitals during delivery or shortly thereafter and sometimes out of the emergency room as well and then the remainder are from our fire and EMS partners throughout the state,” White said.
Doctors with Nemours Children’s Hospital said once the baby is surrendered, he or she is taken to the hospital for checkup. The mother will still have 30 days to reclaim the infant.
Anyone who needs information about the program can call 1-877-767-2229 or click here to visit their website.