A 2-year old boy was left at a South Side fire station Monday, but the person who dropped off the child isn’t protected under Illinois’ Safe Haven Law, which applies only during an infant’s first 30 days of life.
The child was taken to a Chicago Fire Department station near 67th Street and Dorchester Avenue at about 3:45 p.m. The individual who dropped off the child was met by CFD officials, who transported the boy to Comer Children’s Hospital for evaluation, authorities said.
The child was found to be in good condition, and was released into the care of a family friend appointed by Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. No one is in custody at this time, police said.
The Illinois Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act permits individuals to drop off infants of up to 30 days old to emergency services with complete anonymity, and without fear of civil or criminal liability. CFD officials, however, said personnel at firehouses don’t worry about age limits in such situations.
“The Safe Haven Law is for 30 days [old], but the Chicago Fire Department will not refuse any child that’s being dropped off at the firehouse,” said CFD spokesman Larry Langford. “We will follow the protocol of taking the child for evaluation, and DCFS will then take over.”
The Department of Children and Family Services encourages unwilling parents of newborns to “give their baby a chance” through a “No Shame. No blame. No Names” public-awareness campaign.
“If you are pregnant and unable to keep your baby after it’s born, you may legally hand your unharmed baby, up to 30 days old, to a staff member at a hospital, fire or police station, or emergency care facility,” according to a pamphlet published as part of that awareness campaign.
“You don’t have to give your name or any other information to anyone. You will not be breaking any laws. But, you will be giving your baby the gift of life.”