ROSCOE, Ill. (WTVO) — Ten years ago Wednesday, a newborn baby was found dead at a Roscoe recycling plant.
The baby boy was christened “Baby Noah.” Workers discovered the infant’s body on a conveyor belt. Neither he nor his parents have ever been identified.
Baby Noah was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery, 8616 W State Road, in 2012.
Illinois passed a “Safe Haven” law in 2001 which allows parents to legally give up babies that are 30 days old or younger. Parents can drop the infants off at specially marked receptacles outside establishments, such as a designated hospital or fire station.
“Our firefighters are paramedics. [They] will assess the child, make sure it is safe, contact proper authorities and transport it to a hospital for further medical care, medical evaluation. Then, ultimately, we work with social services DCFS,” said Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Matthew Knott.
Dawn Geras, of Save Abandon Babies, says many people aren’t aware Illinois’ Safe Haven Law exists.
“It gives the baby a chance to be loved and placed in a forever home,” Geras said.
At least 90 babies have been abandoned, like Baby Noah, since the law went into effect 20 years ago.
“We have 150 babies that have been turned in, and we celebrate the life of those children. And thank and bless the parents for believing and knowing about the law, enough to use it,” she said.
Knott and Geras agree: by taking advantage of the law, parents can walk away knowing they have made a responsible decision.
“It’s a great resource,” Knott said. “There is, all too often, we hear tragedies occur with newborns left unattended. This provides this safe avenue.”
Knott said all 11 fire stations in Rockford are Safe Haven drop off locations.