In 2000, The Gloria M. Silverio Foundation (501) C3, a not-for-profit organization, was established with the sole purpose of aiding and protecting newborns from the perils of abandonment. It’s one and only program, A Safe Haven for Newborns, provides statewide support for hospitals, Fire, EMS, law enforcement, and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) as the Florida Safe Haven Program and the Florida Surrendered Infant Law (FS.383.50).
A Safe Haven for Newborns has established partnerships in all 67 Florida counties with many organizations in both the public and private sectors. The Foundation, based in Miami, Florida, has just one full-time clerical employee and over 300 statewide volunteers — including the founder, Nick Silverio. All services offered to the expectant mother in distress are offered free to her and her unborn child.
The Florida Safe Haven for Newborns program reaches out to the community and is ready to assist -- confidentially -- all women who contact them through their 24/7 multi-lingual helpline; in English, Spanish, and Creole. To date, they have come to the aid of over 5,000 women in their time of need. The helpline receives over 2,000 calls annually. Safe Haven for Newborns has assisted 71 mothers, who chose direct adoption, their anonymity not a concern, and five mothers regain their parental rights.
A Safe Haven for Newborns also provides, at no cost to its partners:
- The Safe Haven Surrendered Infant signage for all 24/7 staffed Fire Stations, EMS Stations, and hospitals.
- Web-based training for all hospitals, Fire Stations, EMS Stations, DCF, and law enforcement personnel.
- Ongoing statewide public awareness and education.
Recognized as the premier program in the nation in combating infant abandonment, A Safe Haven for Newborns has served as the prototype for other states and countries to establish their own programs. The Foundation’s mission is to eliminate the ultimate in infant abuse (abandonment) through education, awareness, and direct assistance; thus saving two lives — the life of the mother and the newborn infant.
In 2008, Safe Haven for Newborns worked tirelessly with state officials to change the surrender period from just three days to what it is today seven days. The Florida Surrendered Infant Law now states that a mother can anonymously surrender the newborn infant up to seven days of age at any 24-hour staffed fire or EMS station or hospital.