Dropping off baby

Dear Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in making the Safe Haven Infant Protection Act a reality for all residents of New Jersey.

As Hoboken’s First Ward Councilwoman and a parent of two adopted children, I sponsored a Council Resolution in May 2000 asking the New Jersey Assembly to support a program that would allow individuals to voluntarily leave an infant, no more than 30 days old, in the care of a state, county or municipal hospital or police department. This suggestion was made with the intent to protect the lives of children from parents who might otherwise abandon or kill their child as a result of severe emotional stress.

I am very happy to announce that the law is now in effect, with the following criteria:

1. Infants must be no older than 30 days.

2. There shall be no signs of abuse.

3. The infant must be brought in by a parent or someone who the parent had asked.

4. Somebody acting on their own volition.

5. Parent has intent to permanently abandon the child.

6. Infant has to be brought to the hospital emergency room or a police station.

Thanks to the support and hard work of Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, this bill has become law in our state and many lives will be saved. I cannot thank her enough. I would also like to thank Mayor Anthony Russo and the Hoboken City Council for their support on this issue.

The City of Hoboken, through our Police Department and in conjunction with St. Mary Hospital, now has a plan in place to accept abandoned infants. And without question, the staff at St. Mary’s Emergency Room, the staff at the Division of Youth and Family Services, Sgt. William Gohde and especially Joan Quigley, deserve high praise for establishing the Safe Haven Program which will surely save many lives.

Terry Castellano
First Ward Councilwoman


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