(Salt Lake City, UT) – A Colorado girl who was adopted through that state’s Safe Haven law is garnering national attention with her search for her “tummy mommy.”
Unable to raise her, Halle Burke’s biological mother turned to Colorado’s Safe Haven law and handed over the infant to firefighters shortly after her birth in 2003. A loving family adopted and raised Halle. The girl is now looking for her birth mother to tell her ‘thanks’ for making the decision to safely drop her off. Halle wants her birth mother to know she has a wonderful life thanks to her selfless act to give her up.
Halle’s story is an example of how Newborn Safe Haven laws can help moms and babies. But the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Fire Marshal want to remind moms that Utah’s Newborn Safe Haven law only allows moms to drop off babies in hospitals.
“This story has a nice outcome,” says, Coy Porter, Utah’s Fire Marshal, “but Utah has many rural fire stations and many lack the personnel to cover stations every hour, every day.” He added, “It would be tragic if a baby was left, unattended at a fire station. People must understand dropping off a newborn must be done at a Utah hospital.”
Passed in 2001, the Utah Newborn Safe Haven law allows anyone to anonymously drop off a newborn at any Utah hospital with emergency medical services, no questions, no police and no judgment.
“Every state has a newborn safe haven program,” said Utah Rep. Patrice Arent, sponsor of the legislation passed in Utah. “And each state has safe drop off locations. We want to make sure newborns are not left in unsafe places like garbage cans and that newborns end up with a loving family. As Fire Marshal Porter stated, in Utah there are many fire stations in rural areas that are not always staffed 24/7. For that reason, fire stations were not included in the legislation as drop off locations. We also want to assure anyone thinking of dropping off a newborn that their identity will be kept confidential by hospital staff.”
The Utah Safe Haven hotline number is 866-458-0058 and is staffed 24/7. For more information, please visit www.utahsafehaven.org. The website offers details on the law, provides helpful answers to frequently asked questions, lists contact information for hospitals, and provides a link to crisis and respite nurseries across Utah.
Utah Department of Health
Rep. Patrice Arent
UNSH Advisory Committee