PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona is giving new parents more time to safely surrender their baby if they think they won't be able to parent them. The Safe Haven Baby law now lasts for one month after a baby's birth, rather than just a few days.
Nicole Olson and her family didn't even know what the Safe Haven Baby law was until it beautifully changed their family forever. They had already begun the adoption process, and got an urgent phone call. “Of course, we assumed there was a birth mother involved just starting the process, but no, there was a baby who was dropped off,” she said.
That's how they got Porter, their precious, Safe Haven baby, and it's why Nicole is so excited that it's been updated to give parents 30 days -- not just 72 hours -- to surrender their unharmed baby off at a hospital, police or fire station, adoption agency, or other designated safe place.
“I think that they need a little bit more time, a little bit more space, a little bit more clarity in their brain,” Nicole said of birth mothers faced with an unimaginable choice.
While the 72-hour safe haven law has been on the books for a while, it seems not a lot of people know about it. Advocates are hoping to help more people learn about the new, 30-day age limit. “What we're showing is that we actually want to support these parents and I think that there's not a better way to do that than to say, 'We want to support you we want to give you this time to make an educated decision,'" said Heather Burner, executive director of Arizona Safe Baby Haven Foundation. She points out that many mothers haven’t even been discharged from the hospital within 72 hours of their baby's birth.
The law had bipartisan support at the Statehouse,, and the change will likely go into effect sometime around July.
“I think the 30 days is going to help more children get their forever homes and their forever families,” Olson said.