Today’s news:

New hope for ‘drop-off’ babies

While newborns dropped off at area firehouses, hospitals and other “havens” by their troubled parents may be safe, their future is far from secure. These babies are instead left in a limbo of legislative red tape that prevents them from being adopted into loving families, according to State Senator Carl Kruger, chair of the Senate’s Social Services, Children and Families Committee. That’s why the Committee is pushing two “clean-up bills” that would make adoptions easier for these abandoned newborns. “The Abandoned Infant Protection Act said that if someone left their child at a police station or a firehouse, they would be safe from a criminal statute, but there are a lot of other obstacles in regards to social services that these children have to overcome,” said Kruger. “It’s an imperfect answer.” While these parents wouldn’t be charged with abandoning their child, social services law still mandates that a search is conducted for the parents of the baby. As that search continues, the abandoned baby is left to grow up in the care of the Administration of Children’s Services and is never given a chance to be adopted, Kruger said. “We do not want to leave these children to that fate,” he said. “They must be protected as much as their parents are protected from criminal liability.” As yet another abandoned infant story was publicized last week – this time in Queens – Kruger’s committee passed the two bills they said would streamline the Abandoned Infant Protection Act and make it easier for abandoned infants to be adopted. “The Abandoned Infant Protection Act created a procedure to allow mothers to allow mothers to anonymously leave their newborn babies in a safe haven. It was passed in response to many well publicized cases of desperate young mothers killing or leaving their babies to die because they felt they had no other alternative,” one of the bills read. “While the intent of this law is laudable, it only changed Penal Law to prevent such mothers from being prosecuted in criminal court.” “The Social Services Law still mandates that local social services commissioners commence a search for the parents of an abandoned baby,” the bill continues. “This bill clarifies that that women who abandon their babies in a safe place will be allowed to remain anonymous, will not be pursued by a local department of social services and provides a procedure that allows the child to be freed for adoption.” “If our social services system is working properly, we would hope that these children be put in temporary foster care and get them parents who would love them,” said Kruger. “While there is nothing better than reuniting the family, but this will be a good alternative for the child who will reap the blessings of permanency in a sound, loving environment,” he said. The bill is expected to go before the entire State Senate in the next few weeks. The bill had previously passed in 2007, but failed to pass the Assembly.

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