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Newborn baby girl saved, safe haven law used to leave her at hospital

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. (January 21, 2016) - A newborn baby girl is alive and well after being left at a hospital in Lafayette. It’s all because of this state’s safe haven law.

At 3 a.m. Tuesday, inside the E.R. at IU Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette, was a newborn little girl less than 24 hours old.

“We went out there, met with the ER staff and they advised that the child was healthy, not abused or neglected in any way,” said Lt. Brian Gossard with the Lafayette Police Department.

The infant was dropped off moments before by a family friend, police say. Her parents were not charged by Lafayette police, rather protected by the state’s safe haven law.

“We never want to see a child, especially a newborn, harmed in any way or left out, abandoned. This is a good law that worked out in this case,” said Gossard.

Safe havens are police stations, fire departments and hospital emergency rooms. Any unwanted child can be left at those locations and their parents remain anonymous and free from answering to the law. This all is in an effort to save a child from being dumped and left for dead.

“It turned out good. You can imagine what would’ve happened in these temperatures if they’ve made an alternative move on where they would’ve left that child,” said State Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette), one of the law's original authors.

He said Tuesday’s drop off is exactly the way the law is intended to work.

“They find infants in dumpsters. I value life, all life, and this was an opportunity for me to be part of a bill that looks at it like that,” said Alting.

But he says the law is underused. Since the safe haven law passed in 2000, Tuesday’s drop off, according to police was the first time the law was ever used in Lafayette and roughly the 30th time it was used in the entire state of Indiana.

“We hope the message gets out to everyone in Indiana that there is a law in fact that protects you,” said Alting.

DCS is now in charge of taking care of the little girl. They’ll be responsible for setting her up with a foster family.