DeBary Newborn Abandoment Brings Attention To Safe Haven Law

a safe haven for newborns

Daytona Beach, FL - As the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office declines to file charges against the mother of a newborn girl found abandoned outside a DeBary store early Monday, other authorities are using the opportunity the story created to bring more public attention to the state’s law against abandoning babies anywhere other than hospitals or fire stations.

Nick Silverio – Chief Executive Officer of “A Safe Haven for Newborns”, a volunteer not-for-profit organization – says Florida law allows parents of newborns to leave an unharmed child up to 7 days of age at any fire rescue station, emergency medical services station or hospital anonymously and without fear of prosecution, so long as it’s staffed 24-7.

“The reason for that is hospitals and fire stations are the best trained for babies that are hours old,” Silverio added. “They’ve got the medical equipment and they’re less threatening in the community.”

Signs are placed at the entrance of each Volusia County Fire Services fire station indicating their designation as Safe Havens for Newborns.

Firefighters at those stations have received in-house training detailing what is expected of them in the event of a child being left at a station.

In addition, supply kits are maintained in each station with the basics necessary to care for an infant for a limited period of time.

Each baby left at a Safe Haven is taken to the nearest hospital before a family is found for them.

Silverio also talked to WNDB about the incident outside the DeBary Food Mart last Monday, saying the woman’s boyfriend – 53-year-old Ralph Garlick, Jr. – made several mistakes he didn’t need to make that eventually led to his arrest for knowingly lying to investigators.

“What that gentleman did is not the most common thing,” Silverio added. “I mean, number 1, he said that he had found the baby and that wasn’t the case. Number 2, he gave the police an incorrect name. And he got aggressive with them.”

At last report, that baby girl is in good condition at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando and will be turned over to D.C.F. custody once she’s medically cleared, according to V.C.S.O. spokesman Gary Davidson.

For more about A Safe Haven For Newborns, click here.

For more about the abandonment case in DeBary, click here.

Copyright 2013 Southern Stone Communications.

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