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INSIDE THE VILLAGE: A safe place to drop off unwanted babies

This week on the podcast: 'Safe surrender sites,' where struggling mothers or caregivers can anonymously abandon their infants — without judgment or consequence — for the good of the child

​Welcome back to Inside the Village, a current affairs podcast where all news is local — and no topic is off-limits.

On this week's episode: Infant surrender sites.

A few years ago, a Calgary-based charity called Gems for Gems created "Hope's Cradle," a place for desperate mothers and caregivers to safely — and anonymously — drop off babies they cannot raise. The idea was triggered by the high-profile death of an Alberta newborn found in a dumpster on Christmas Eve 2017.

Canada's first drop-off site — a temperature-controlled bassinet box — was installed at a fire station in Strathmore. The concept has since spread to Manitoba and to Clarington, Ont., and last week, city councillors in Sault Ste. Marie voted unanimously to explore the possibility.

Our guest this week is Jordan Guildford, the founder and CEO of Gems for Gems. She explains how the sites work and why they are increasingly necessary. She also stresses that the initiative is judgment-free. As long as the baby shows no signs of abuse, the mother will not be questioned or charged. 

For privacy reasons, Guildford could not discuss how many babies have been surrendered to date. But she points out that there are many reasons a caregiver would do so. In some cases, a mother could be facing financial hardship or addiction. In others, the caregiver may be a victim of gender-based violence, human trafficking or incest.

You can read more about Hope's Cradle HERE.

Hosted by Scott Sexsmith and Michael Friscolanti, the Editor-in-Chief of Village Media, Inside the Village is a news and current affairs podcast that provides a weekly window into some of the best local journalism from across our chain of Ontario newsrooms. Produced by Derek Turner, the program also explores bigger-picture issues that impact people across the province.

Every episode is available HERE. If you prefer the audio version, it is available wherever you find your favourite podcasts.

Have something to say? You can reach us at [email protected].

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