Infant abandonment is a complex issue. An infant is considered abandoned if a person grossly neglects a child and leaves them unattended.
Typically, people think of discarded babies when they hear the words “infant abandonment”. Discardment is one way an infant is abandoned. However, there are other types of infant abandonment that are far more prevalent.
THE HOPE BOX seeks to address the most common issues surrounding infant abandonment, including:
At times, women in crisis “discard” their babies in dangerous locations without adequate medical care. There are many reasons why a woman feels she must leave her infant. She could be a victim of sex trafficking, domestic violence, or incest. She may have a fear of being disowned by her family. She could be in foster care and wants to save her child from being raised in the system. Whatever the issue, she feels she has no other choice. The risk of keeping her baby is greater than the risk of discarding the infant.
To address this type of infant abandonment, the state of Georgia has passed the Safe Haven Law to provide safe places for a mother to anonymously leave her infant without fear of prosecution. In 2017 alone, 3,371 babies have been surrendered to Safe Haven locations nationally.
THE HOPE BOX has been instrumental in working with the Georgia State Legislators to expand the Georgia Safe Haven law. This expanded legislation was passed in 2017. House Bill 391 increases Georgia Safe Haven facilities to include hospitals, police stations, and fire departments. It also removes the requirement to leave identification and now the mother may leave information if willing.
Now that the new Safe Haven law has passed, hospitals, police stations, and fire stations must be educated on the law and trained/outfitted to receive Safe Haven infants. The State of Georgia is divided into 159 counties, more than any other state except for Texas, which has 254 counties. Most of these counties have fire stations that completely volunteer with a budget of less than $1,000 a year. 60 to 70 percent of all fire stations in the state of Georgia are 100% volunteer staffed. THE HOPE BOX is working hard to get information to them.
Hospitals throughout Georgia are home to boarder babies. At times, there can be up to 50 boarder babies in one hospital. The legal term for boarder babies are infants medically cleared to be discharged from the hospital, but they have nowhere to go.
There are four reasons why a parent cannot take a child home:
1. If the baby has alcohol in its system.
2. If the baby has drugs in its system.
3. If the parents are homeless.
4. If the parents have lost previous children to DFCS.
Babies are also being abandoned in the hospital by their parents because:
1. The mother did not know she was pregnant or may not be able to care for the baby.
2. The mother was afraid someone would find out they had a baby.
3. There is a fear of medical bills.
4. The baby is at risk of being trafficked.
5. The mother fears her pimp.
6. Women from foreign countries come to Atlanta to have their babies. If the baby has a medical issue, they may not be able to return to their home country without complications.
THE HOPE BOX is committed to changing this. By working with DFCS, caseworkers, and judges to advocate for boarder babies, THE HOPE BOX is dedicated to ensuring that every baby is identified, nurtured, followed, and legally ready to be connected with a placement agency and forever family.
INFANT SEX TRAFFICKING
Did you know that babies, including children under the age of three, are being trafficked in the United States every day on the black market? These are infants being sold for sex.
THE HOPE BOX has become involved in the fight against infant sex trafficking because of the tips we receive from women in crisis. In the last year alone, THE HOPE BOX has helped several infants from being sold for sex. These infants are now safe. However, there are many more who face the threat of being sold to pay off a debt, appease a pimp, or fuel a drug habit. THE HOPE BOX is working to raise awareness of this issue and is working within the judicial system to rescue infants at risk of being trafficked.
The time has come to take a stand for the most vulnerable members of our society. Every child deserves a chance in a loving and nurturing home. THE HOPE BOX is leading the way to not only address the issue of infant abandonment but to eradicate it from our society.
If you would like to partner with us here are some great ways you can help.
Become a monthly partner. Donate
Bring The Hope Box to you. Book us for a speaking engagement. Email
Volunteer and use your gifts and talents to bring awareness to the public. Email
Have a training. We would love to come and train your community. Email