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Press Release
December 18, 2007

NYC Agency Leaders Remind Parents of Safe Alternatives When an Infant is Abandoned -Urge New or Expectant Parents to Call State Hotline for Assistance

NYC Children’s Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly and Alan Aviles, President of the Health and Hospitals Corporation, today urgently reminded all New Yorkers that there is a safe alternative to infant abandonment for new or expectant parents who are struggling with an unwanted pregnancy. The New York State Abandoned Infant Protection Act shields parents from criminal prosecution if they abandon infants in a safe, suitable location, such as hospitals, police precincts, firehouses, churches, emergency medical services, or if a parent places the infant with any responsible adult willing to accept the baby and call proper authorities.

“There is absolutely no reason for any child to be abandoned and possibly left to die without care in this City,” said ACS Commissioner John B. Mattingly. “The Abandoned Infant Protection Act provides a caring, safe and humane response to a very difficult problem. I urge all New Yorkers to spread the word about this safe alternative for unwanted infants.”

The infant girl found Monday night in a Queens Dumpster could have been safely left in two nearby places, including Elmhurst Hospital and the nearby 110th Police Precinct.The infant is now in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital and is in the care of Children’s Services.

“We need to continue to spread the word about this important law so that parents, especially the very young who may not be ready to take on the full responsibilities of parenthood, feel comfortable that they can give up their child in a safe and unthreatening environment,” said HHC President Aviles.

For information regarding the Abandoned Infant Protection Act about when and where a person may responsibly leave an infant, please call this hotline number: 866-505-SAFE (7233) or go to http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/safe/ or www.acs.nyc/acs.

Details of the Law:

Abandoned Infant Protection Act

Under the Abandoned Infant Protection Act, parents, guardians, or other legally responsible persons who are unable to care for their newborn infants may anonymously and safely leave their infant in the care of a responsible person at a hospital, police station, fire station or a responsible person at another safe location. For more information regarding other suitable locations in your area, contact your local district attorney's office.

The Abandoned Infant Protection Act creates an affirmative defense* to prosecution for Abandonment of a child under Penal Law section 260.00, where the parent, guardian, or other legally responsible person intended to abandon a child who is not more than five days old, providing that the parent, guardian, or other legally responsible person:

  • intended that the child be safe from physical injury and cared for in an appropriate manner
  • left the child with an appropriate person or in a suitable location
  • promptly notified an appropriate person of the child's location

The Abandoned Infant Protection Act adds to the affirmative defense to prosecution for Endangering the Welfare of a Child under Penal Law section 260.10 based upon the alleged desertion of a child not more than five days old, providing that the parent, guardian, or other legally responsible person:

  • intended that the child be safe from physical injury and cared for in an appropriate manner
  • left the child with an appropriate person or in a suitable location
  • promptly notified an appropriate person of the child's location

 

Contact:
ACS Press Office: (212) 341-0999

 

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