TRENTON – Senator Fred H. Madden today called upon the Safe Haven Awareness Task Force to meet and expedite the release of a long overdue report outlining current methods of advertising the infant protection program, as well as identifying new ways to raise public awareness.
“As the sponsor of the 2006 law that created the Task Force, I am outraged that it is taking so long for the report to be issued,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Statutorily, the Task Force was required to issue a report six months after its first meeting took place. It’s been 18 months since the Task Force was created and I have yet to receive word on its progress. Any way you look at it, the report is overdue.”
Senator Madden said that his staff has reached out to the Department of Children and Families numerous times over the past few weeks, and they have yet to even receive a concise list of dates that the Task Force met, let alone a copy of its findings.
“The Task Force is responsible for developing new advertising strategies for the program, and I have yet to even see a commercial about Safe Haven. I sponsored the law because I saw a need for publicizing the program. It is absolutely unacceptable that here we are, nearly two years later, and no report has been issued,” said Senator Madden.
“As long as the Task Force continues to drag its feet in carrying out the job that it was created by law to do, the number of lives lost can only increase, and that is something that I and the people of New Jersey cannot and will not tolerate,” said Senator Madden.
Established in 2000, New Jersey’s Safe Haven program provides a place for parents who are unwilling or unable to care for their infants to give up custody anonymously. The Safe Haven hotline number, 1-877-839-2339, provides interested parents with the phone number and location of any hospital or police station in the state where they can leave the infant. The program provides a life-saving alternative to having parents simply discard their newborns in a trash can or leave them on the street, said Senator Madden.