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First Lady and DCF Urge State Agencies to Promote Life-Saving PSA


For Immediate Release Contact: DCF Communications Office
February 13, 2019 609-888-7915


Hopewell – Murphy Administration officials today announced a multi-department, state-wide awareness and outreach campaign for the Safe Haven law. The statute allows the surrender of an unwanted infant up to a month old to staff at any hospital emergency room, police or fire station, and ambulance or rescue squad.

Joined by First Lady Tammy Murphy and representatives from other state agencies, New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer shared a Safe Haven public service announcement and outlined the multiple promotion efforts the department has employed to publicize the statute.

“To surrender a child is a hard and heavy decision for a mother. Safe Havens provide a safe space for these women to find a suitable home for their baby without any shame. Ensuring the health and welfare of both mothers and babies is a key component of building a stronger, fairer, and healthier New Jersey,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “I am proud to stand together with our statewide partners and applaud their commitment to Nurture New Jersey’s mission to reduce infant and maternal mortality.”

In July 2000, New Jersey became the fifth state to pass Safe Haven legislation.  The movement continued to grow and today, every state has enacted it in some form. To date, 71 babies in New Jersey have been received through Safe Haven and placed into foster care through DCF’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

“Last year, New Jersey lost three infants due to abandonment within six days – an incredible tragedy because these incidents are so preventable,” said DCF Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer. “This awareness campaign is about assuring new moms and dads that they can surrender their infant safely, legally and anonymously.”

The DCF has been posting static ads on social media since November 2018, and produced a video and audio public service announcement, which began circulating online in December 2018.  The ad campaign generated more than 1.1 million impressions and was seen by nearly 250,000 Facebook users within the target age range of 18-30 year old New Jersey residents. The video PSA garnered nearly 400,000 views, with an almost 85% completion rate since being posted to social media. The Facebook ads and the PSA were produced with federal funding from the Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) grant.

“Awareness is critical in these situations,” said DCF’s Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Child Protection and Permanency Carmen Diaz-Petti. “DCP&P will care for the infant and, if a surrender is anonymous, we’ll find a loving adoptive family. We will gladly work these cases any day of the week, as the alternative is completely unacceptable.”

Several designated Safe Haven sites in New Jersey generously offered their time and talent to assist in the production of the PSA, including Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell, and Robbinsville Police Department.  Additionally, East Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, which is not a designated Safe Haven site (the requirement is that a facility be staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), stood in as an example of a Safe Haven surrender at a fire house.  

The radio and video spots are 15, 30 and 60 seconds, each impactful by highlighting for viewers the possible internal dialogue a new mom might experience and that could lead her to a Safe Haven:

“I didn’t plan to have a baby, no one knows. My parents will kill me! I need to figure something out… right now!” 

“He’s gone! He said he would help, that he would stay with me! I can’t do this alone!”

The narrator’s voice is woven into the dialogue, explaining:

 Not everyone celebrates the birth of a baby.  

There are women and couples who are scared, confused, and desperate... and for lots of other reasons people might never understand.... now just isn’t the right time to raise a baby.

And in the 60-second video, a nurse, firefighter, police officer and EMT each have a part in saying the campaign tag-line:

No shame. No blame. No names. Safe Haven.

The PSA has been airing on DCF’s social media sites and now will be shared among state agencies, hospitals, police and fire departments, schools, colleges and universities.

For more information about the Safe Haven law, visit or call the Safe Haven Hotline at 1.877.839.2339.

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