South Florida Hospital News
Saturday October 31, 2020
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October 2020 - Volume 17 - Issue 4
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Public Awareness Saves Lives

According to Nick Silverio, "public awareness saves lives," and for that reason, Silverio, founder of A Safe Haven for Newborns, is delighted to have formed a partnership with Century Ambulance Service, Inc. Salome Lofty, Account Executive, South Florida, of Century, agrees.

Safe Haven's mission is to help save the lives of newborns who are in danger of being abandoned by their mothers, and also to assist pregnant girls and women in crisis. Silverio said there's an escalating crisis where mothers believe they have no support: they're not connected to their family or people who might care. Sometimes they are connected, but they are young and feel ashamed, and are fearful of being ostracized from the family. They may panic at the last minute and leave babies in unsafe places that can often result in death. "Safe Haven is a resource for those moms, we try to get them help in the community in which they live; quite often when we do they are able to keep their baby, and that's our goal."
 
He continued, saying that if they cannot keep the baby, they may place the infant directly with an adoption agency and can remain in the life of that child if they so request. Another option is, if they want to remain anonymous, the baby is placed in the Safe Haven program, and the mother's name doesn't appear on the birth certificate. Silverio said this process has saved many lives – more than 325 in the 20 years since Safe Haven was founded.
 
Safe Haven already had partnerships with hospitals and fire stations in Florida. All hospitals have the Safe Haven logo posted outside their emergency departments, as do all 24/7-staffed fire stations. "We felt that would communicate that there is a safe haven, so people could ask questions, find out what a safe haven is, get answers, and know there was help."
 
To further the possibility of providing help, Safe Haven's latest partnership is with Century Ambulance Service, a privately owned medical transport company. Lofty explained, "I received a call from Dr. William Bruno, one of the ambassadors for Safe Haven for Newborns. He was referred to Century by one of our mutual partners who was impressed with our level of services, and recommended that Safe Haven reach out to us. He felt confident that we would be a good partner. When Dr. Bruno (contacted us), it was such an easy decision for us, a no-brainer. Safe Haven saves lives, and more importantly plays such a vital role in our community by providing pregnant mothers, in their most desperate moment, with safe, sound, and compassionate alternatives to abandoning their newborn infants; and everything is done in such a confidential manner."
 
Silverio added, "We met some months ago and explained our program, and then provided education to the ambulance drivers and supervisors, so they would know what to do if they were in a situation where somebody wanted to leave their baby. And we recently put decals on the ambulances. Constant awareness: it's an ongoing process."
 
Lofty confirmed, "That means that each of our ambulances serves as a safe haven for newborns. So we are ready to assist any mother in crisis should she need the assistance."
 
Silverio said Safe Haven was created because mothers want to be anonymous, and that's why they were leaving babies unattended. The program can help in several ways. A mother can give birth to a baby outside of a hospital and take it either to a fire station or a hospital and express her desire to leave the baby with the program. Or the mother may have the baby at the hospital and can ask to leave the child with Safe Haven. In some scenarios, she may have the baby but leave without letting anybody know what she wants to do. However, sometimes after giving up her baby, the mother learns she has support but didn't realize it. In those cases, she has 30 days to reclaim the child by going through the court system. Safe Haven can help with that, too.
 
Safe Haven has also created an app for high school and college students to be able to earn their community service hours. They can tackle one of three do-at-home projects: a smartphone video, a newsletter, or artwork, with everything being oriented toward Safe Haven. "With this pandemic, it's given them a way to earn their hours fairly easily."
 
In summary, Silverio said, "Our message is that if you're pregnant or know somebody who is, and are all alone and don't know what to do, call us. We can get help." Lofty added, "It's a much-needed service in our community, and we are committed to supporting Safe Haven in their mission to eliminate infant abandonment."

For more information about A Safe Haven for Newborns, call (877) 767-2229 or visit www.asafehavenfornewborns.com. For Century Ambulance Service, Inc., call (800) 771-2829 or visit www.centuryambulance.com.

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