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Law needs better advertising

Since July 1, 2000, at least 20 babies in Florida have been abandoned in dangerous areas, and three of those infants died. But since that day, the Safe Baby Law has been in effect. This law gives amnesty to any parent who leaves his or her infant in a safe place, such as a hospital, fire stations, doctor’s office or ambulance station. However, this law is not well known and obviously, little used. If the state wants to truly protect its children, it needs to use all the resources it has to get the word out about this law.

The objective of the law is to prevent parents from abandoning babies in places where they can be harmed or die. Parents who leave their children in the safe places are guaranteed immunity from legal repercussions. In fact, the Department of Children and Families only becomes involved if the baby shows signs of mistreatment. Normally, people convicted of child abandonment are faced with a 10-year jail sentence.

Knowing this, it’s unbelievable that someone would choose to bring a baby into the world, and then leave it somewhere to die. However, some parents continue to abandon their babies. Perhaps the main reason for this is because people don’t know about the law. If it was advertised better, more might take advantage of it.

The Florida Department of Health and the DCF received $100,000 for its media campaign. The money was used for radio and television commercials, as well as posters in hospitals and fire stations. Obviously, if babies are still being abandoned these methods of advertising are obviously not effective. Instead, advertising targeted at expectant mothers through newspapers, magazines, or billboards might be better and more effective avenues the FDH and DCF should explore soon.