CAÑON CITY, Colo. — According to officials, a teen father surrendered a baby to a Cañon City fire station Tuesday morning.
It is legal to surrender an infant to either a hospital or a fire station, as long as the baby is surrendered by a parent, and before they are 72 hours old, according to the law.
Cañon City Fire Lt. Shane Roberts said the fire station crews have a specific protocol.
“This is the first case in Fremont County most anyone can recall,” said Sgt. Steve Huskey with the Cañon City Police Department.
“What our protocol says when someone used Safe Haven Law, we take the station out of service, arrives at our scene, the firefighter that accepted custody of the child goes with the ambulance to hospital where they transfer custody to the hospital,” Roberts said.
Now the child is the custody of the Fremont County Department of Human Services.
“As a mom to a 5-year-old and expecting mom, it would have to be a pretty dire situation for a parent to do something like that,” said Hope Forti, the founder of Foster Together.
Forti introduced us to Lauren Shawcross, who says this hits home for her.
Shawcross grew up in foster care after she ran away from a sexually and physically abusive home at 10 years old.
“Our society has deemed ‘oh my God, how could you abandon your child,'” she said. “They have given their child a better opportunity, honestly.”
She said laws like the Colorado Safe Haven law are in place for a reason.
“So many times we hear the opposite happening,” Shawcross said. “Because of someone’s lifestyle or situation, they can’t care for child, they may choose to take their own life, they may choose to take the child’s life. You never know what someone is going through. You never know their own home life at all.”
Though the baby’s future is uncertain, she said it’s the unknown that is hopeful.
“That road forward can begin now because of this choice,” Shawcross said.
Police have confirmed there is no criminal activity and this was a legal surrender. They said the baby is in good health.
Forti also wants families to know about the Safe Families program, giving parents in crisis an extra hand.