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Are safe havens for babies needed?

Questions have risen about the need for safe havens in Calgary, and at least one city agency says it has experienced incidents of parents leaving their babies on the premises.

Questions have risen about the need for safe havens in Calgary, and at least one city agency says it has experienced incidents of parents leaving their babies on the premises.

But it was in a safe and controlled environment, said Patty Kilgallon, executive director of the Children’s Cottage Society.

“We’ve seen that happen here a couple times a year,” Kilgallon said, but added it’s not common to see it happen on the streets.

“It’s a much better option than the streets.”

Kilgallon said her agency is there 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance through its Crisis Nursery.

“We want people to know there are options and help out there at many different agencies and throughout the city.”

Parents have been hugging their own children a little tighter after a baby was found in a northwest townhouse dumpster on Tuesday, and talk of safe havens is growing.

On Wednesday, Alberta Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky was asked if Alberta needs a program similar to Vancouver’s “baby drop-off,” which allows people to leave their babies in a hospital.

He said he is open to suggestions but would prefer a safe place for babies and mothers, as opposed to a drop-off-type facility.

Calgary child abuse unit Staff Sgt. Leah Barber said it’s not common to find babies abandoned in the city and she isn’t sure the city needs a drop-off program.

“I think that city would put that in place because of the number of people who live on the streets,” she added.

The baby left in the dumpster Tuesday remains in stable condition in hospital.

 
 
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