“It’s a great program, but it’s also sad.” Special Report: A safe haven for lives left hanging in the balance


WABASH VALLEY (WTHI) – Lost, confused and alone. Not every child brought into this world is met with overwhelming joy.

Many mothers without means wonder, what now?

“It’s sad that we need to have it, but we understand why it’s in effect.”

No names, no questions; only a safe haven for an innocent life left hanging in the balance.

“If it’s under 30 days old than we will receive the child,” explained Terre Haute Fire Dept. Chief Jeff Fisher. “All of our firefighters are trained to render the care that’s needed.”

As Chief of the Terre Haute Fire Department, Fisher has made a living out of helping the helpless.

“I’ve made runs on teenagers who said they didn’t know they were pregnant, that’s kind of hard to grasp, but it happens.”

In his 22 years on the job, Fisher has never seen a baby who’s been surrendered.

But one could be. Under a law aimed to help those who have no-where to turn.

“It’s a great program, but it’s also sad. Somebody is giving up their child, their baby.”

An act Jaimee Goodman finds to be selfless. She is the director of OBGYN at Union Hospital and often takes questions from at-risk mothers.

“Not all people who have babies or give birth to babies are capable of taking care of them or providing for them,” Goodman explained.

That’s why all 50 states have Safe Haven laws. This allows mothers in crisis to place their newborns, 30 days and under, in a protected environment such as a police department, fire station or hospital.

Without being identified. Without being prosecuted.

“The baby will go to DCS and be placed in a family that’s either a pre-adoptive or a licensed foster family,” Goodman continued.

3,000 babies now have loving homes, thanks to these safe havens. 13 are from right here in the Hoosier state since the law took effect in early 2000.

“To recognize that you can’t care for a baby, and to place that baby in a position where someone can, it’s the ultimate act of love, really.”

Though it’s a life-saving resource, getting the word out remains a challenge. So, the Wabash Valley is leading the charge for awareness.

It’s an important message to share. And it comes from those on the receiving end.

“It seems like it’s died out over the years,” Fisher stated. “We just want people to be aware that the program is in effect, and it can be utilized if needed.”

Because for expectant mothers who have lost hope, there’s a glimmer of light in the darkness.

Someone with open arms and a loving heart.

“It’s been here for years, it’s still here, and my guess is that it will be here for years to come.”

If you or someone you know would like more information about relinquishing a new-born child, reach out for help.

Check out this link for information or call (888) 510-BABY.