In recent news you might have heard of the two little babies who were abandoned. One of these instances unfortunately resulted in a death at Maroubra Beach in New South Wales, though the other had a miraculous result after being left in a drain at Quakers Hill in New South Wales for 6 days and being found and rescued.
It makes us all very sad to hear of these instances and there needs to be a way to help mothers who feel that they can’t look after a child and have no other way out than to abandon their baby.
In response to the government sitting on plans to introduce baby hatches Sydney Mother, Grandmother and Midwife Catherine Lucre has decided to take things into her own hands by setting up ‘Operation Safe Haven’, it’s all about providing a safe place for mums to drop their babies off with anonymity and no judgement. She has even gone so far as to post her mobile number publicly and offered to travel to pick up any infants who may need rescuing.
We reached out to Catherine to talk of her plans and find out why she set up ‘Operation Safe Haven’
Catherine, why have you set this operation up?
I have been Broken hearted by the news of these babies. This is on top of the baby found in the garbage at Narellan Tip in 2009.I strongly felt that there was not enough being done and obviously these babies were falling through gaps in the current system!
Are you recruiting other helpers across the nation? How can people get involved and do they need to have a police check to help out?
I have had offers from people in every state and territory to help! I have overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people who want to do something to help! At this point I feel that I should be the initial point of contact and anyone who wishes to volunteer would need police checks as well as working with children checks. They can contact me via the Facebook page. I will sort through the volume of interested parties over the weekend and will recruit some trusted friends to help me. Anyone doing anything under the banner of Operation Safe Haven will be working closely with me and under my direct supervision.
Why do you feel mums get to the point where they feel there is no other alternative?
There are so many reasons. Some are compelled to conceal pregnancies for many reasons, rape, religious or cultural issues, incest, domestic violence, alcohol abuse but mostly I think it is a mental health issue. I would love to help the Mum too but only with her permission and I feel that I know the correct services to help them as well as referral pathways
How do you ensure anonymity?
I have offered to leave a bassinet at my front door! I have offered to go and pick the baby up from a pre planned venue. I will only disclose to the authorities what I know!
How do you ensure the babies are cared for?
I am qualified in neo natal resuscitation. I am a midwife plus a Child and Family Health Nurse. My main objective would be to assess the infant. Ensure that it is warm and covered and protected and get it to the nearest hospital in the shortest time possible and inform both the police and DoCS of exactly what has gone on.
Why do you think the government isn’t fast tracking baby hatches like they have in Europe?
Because of funding and also because I think that they feel the system is “enough” I think its not good enough to throw your baby out in the garbage or bury them in the sand!
How can mums who feel like they are in a situation where hey have no alternative get in contact with you?
Via my Facebook page or my mobile number 0407419615
If you or anyone you know is experiencing feelings of depression please contact Catherine on the above details or Lifeline on 13 11 14.