PHOENIX (Thursday, March 10, 2016) – Wednesday’s discovery of an abandoned newborn girl in Mesa brings attention to the importance of Arizona’s “Safe Haven” law and the continuing critical need for more foster parents.
In desperate circumstances where a baby’s parent believes they simply can’t care for their child, babies are abandoned as occurred in Mesa this past week. It is critical that the public knows that there is never a need to abandon a baby, putting the child’s life at risk. The Arizona Safe Haven Law allows the parent to bring a baby, up to three days old, to a hospital, emergency medical service provider, fire station, licensed private child welfare agency or a participating church. The parent’s anonymity is preserved, and there are no legal ramifications or questions asked. A baby dropped off at a participating Safe Haven location will be safe and cared for through the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS).
Once a baby comes to DCS under the Arizona Safe Haven Law, the agency goes to work on finding a home immediately – a foster family to love and nurture the newborn during one of the most vulnerable times of the child’s life.
Sometimes it is easier said than done. The need for foster families in Arizona is urgent. According to DCS Director Greg McKay, there are over 19,000 children in Arizona needing a foster home right now. Director McKay’s message to Arizonans is, “Thousands of Arizona children need your help. These kids have no place to call home and no one to call family. No child should ever grow up like that. I urge my fellow Arizonans to open your hearts and homes to vulnerable kids who need a place to belong and be loved.”
There are resources and support available for people considering foster parenting. Marital status and age demographics are not limitations. The Department of Child Safety will provide the resources and support needed in the process of becoming a licensed foster care home and provides ongoing support for foster families.
The State of Arizona must become a place where EVERY child is safe, loved, and home with a family that cares. For more about being a foster parent please visit: http://azfamilyresources.org or call 877-KIDS-NEEDU. To learn more about the Safe Haven Law, please visit the DCS website here: https://dcs.az.gov/services/safe-haven-newborn-information.