On Tuesday, Dec. 4, several members of the Chillicothe Fire Department will be attending a training session at Heartland Regional Hospital, in St. Joseph, Mo., pertaining to the Safe Haven for Newborns laws and program.
"This is a new deal for us," said Chillicothe Fire Chief Darrell Wright. "I'm not sure what we can do legally or morally until we take this training."
Safe Havens are approved locations where women, after delivery, can safely leave unwanted or unprovidable newborn child in the care of law enforcement officials or medical staff, without the fear of legal penalties.
Via Safe Haven laws (which can be viewed at www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org), in the state of Missouri, a newborn five days old or younger, or up to age one with affirmative defense, may be left in the hands of staff on duty at hospitals, fire stations, ambulance stations, and police stations. In Kansas, a newborn 45 days old or less may be left in the hands of any staff on duty at hospitals, fire stations, and city or county health departments. The woman will not be penalized for doing so, and is protected by law, so long as the infant appears unharmed when they are left in Safe Haven care. Once the parent chooses Safe Haven for their baby, all identifying information is removed from the child's medical record. The child is kept in a hospital setting until he or she is medically able to go to an approved, pre-adoption home.
The training begins with a breakfast at 8 a.m. It is assumed by Wright that the training will be completed before noon Tuesday.
"Heartland contacted us," Wright said. "They wanted to make sure this region is up to date [on the Safe Haven laws]."
The CFD will follow up this training session with training on the new statewide radio systems in Cameron at around 1 p.m., Tuesday.