EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio – A mother left her 10-month-old daughter at an East Cleveland fire station Wednesday afternoon, according to police.
A police report states the woman abandoned the infant at Fire Station #2 on Shaw Avenue around 12:30 p.m. for “reasons unknown.”
A spokesperson for Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services said the child was unharmed and clean and has been placed with a relative.
It was unclear if the mother could face any potential charges, as the case does not fall within the guidelines of Ohio’s Safe Haven for Newborns program, which applies to newborn infants up to 30 days old. It allows a birth parent to leave an unharmed infant with a medical worker in a hospital, a medical worker at a fire department or other emergency service organization, or a peace officer at a law enforcement agency without facing prosecution.
The professional staff person will provide medical attention and contact county children services.
“This mother did the right thing. She took the baby to the right place, because we often hear about children who are abandoned, who are abandoned in things like dumpsters,” said University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Dr. Lolita McDavid, who is Medical Director for Child Advocacy and Protection.
“Even those of us who have a lot going for us, when you get a new baby, it's overwhelming.”
McDavid said there are resources available to struggling parents before the situation becomes a crisis. Social workers through county children services or local hospitals can help, and churches and adoption agencies can also provide resources.
Providence House, a crisis nursery in Cleveland, provides emergency shelter to children 12 and under.
“What they're going to do is help you come up with a plan so you can work through this time when you are very stressed,” McDavid said.
Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services can be contacted at 216-696-KIDS and additional resources are available through the Help Me Grow hotline at 1-800-755-4769.