St. Paul’s Hospital is offering a place for troubled mothers to anonymously and safely abandon their newborn babies if they feel they can’t care for them.
The drop-off, called Angel’s Cradle, is accessible from outside the emergency room entrance as well as from inside the emergency room.
A mother can put her baby in the bassinet and leave before an alarm sounds 30-seconds later, notifying hospital staff that a baby has been placed there.
“Providence Health Care has a long tradition of providing compassionate care for those most in need,” said Justin Karasick, a spokesperson for Providence, which operates the hospital.
“There’s been quite a few recent local incidents where babies have been abandoned in alleys or dumpsters and we felt there was a need that wasn’t being met,” he said.
“(The Angel’s Cradle) is kind of a last option … for someone if they want to remain anonymous and (fear of reprimand) is what’s keeping them from dropping off their baby with social services.”
In 2004, a baby was found in a plastic bag at a Vancouver bus stop.
Last year, a newborn boy was found in a bag outside an East Vancouver home. Last month, police were called to the same home to investigate the death of another newborn.
Karasick said babies left at St. Paul’s would be treated by hospital staff and then handed over to the Ministry of Children and Family Development to be placed in foster care or adopted.
If a mother changes her mind after leaving her newborn at Angel’s Cradle she can contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development to discuss her options.
St. Paul’s encourages mothers using the service to leave any pertinent medical information about the baby or her family.