UMFK Student Aims to Bring Safe Haven Boxes to Aroostook County
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -
A UMFK Nursing Student is hoping to provide safe options for surrendering newborns in Aroostook county. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.
“Being a future nurse I would like to advocate for my patients and for the community and I feel this is really needed, not just in our community but in every community around.”
Renee Cropley, a nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent got the idea to start advocating for Safe Haven Baby Boxes, an anonymous infant surrender solution, after hearing the story of Baby Jane Doe, an infant that was allegedly left to die in a Frenchville gravel pit 36 years ago shortly after birth.
“It’s a compartment inside of a wall of a fire house, police station or emergency room. It has an outside door that a person can walk up to and safely surrender their newborn. As soon as the mom, dad or somebody puts the newborn into the Safe Haven Baby Box, it’s a medical grade bassinet, temperature controlled as soon as the baby enters it, there’s a sensor inside and the door also locks from the outside so nobody can come up and take the baby from the outside.”
The state of Maine has had a Safe Haven law on the books since 2002, which decriminalizes the abandonment of a child, as long as it is surrendered within the first 31 days of life to a safe haven provider, such as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or medical staff. There are currently no Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Maine, or even New England, something Cropley says needs to change.
“Its very important that we try to get them implemented because it gives moms, dads, individuals a way to anonymously do this without feeling the shame or the stigma that is surrounded by it. I was abandoned as a baby and I’m actually very grateful for that because without that I probably would not have the opportunities that I do now”
According to Safe Haven Baby Boxes, the nonprofit organization Cropley is working with, the cost of the boxes, plus installation can run upwards of 16,000 dollars each. Cropley is hoping to raise the money through fundraising.
“I also reached out to local hospitals, ems, firestations. I reached out to Chief Susi at the Caribou Firestation. I reached out to him, pitched him the idea and he’s all on board”
WAGM reached out to Caribou Fire Chief Scott Susi, who declined to be interviewed for this story, but said more research needs to be done regarding the safety and legitimacy of Safe Haven Baby Boxes before he’s fully onboard. Susi sent over documentation, originally provided by Safe Haven Baby Boxes which states the boxes are not regulated by the FDA or Consumer Product Safety Commission and are not UL listed and approved for safety.
For More information regarding Safe Haven Baby Boxes visit:
Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8
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