Connecticut
 
Ridgefield’s “Safe Haven” Fundraiser is a Big Success

 
Left to right: Tim Jaccard, AMT Children of Hope Director and Founder; Dr. Elizabeth Rex, CFF President; Charles Rex, CFF Co-Founder and violin soloist; and Sidney Rothstein, Music Director of the Ridgefield Symphony
 
The Garden Room at the Keeler Tavern Museum was flooded with sunshine and supporters who turned out from around the corner and across the state to help raise funds and public awareness for Connecticut’s Safe Haven Law.

Letters filled with encouraging words of bi-partisan support and gratitude also arrived from public officials who – though unable to attend -- wanted to voice their strong support for the Connecticut law enacted back in 2001 that allows any desperate young woman to safely and anonymously abandon an unwanted newborn (up to 30 days old) at any hospital emergency room within Connecticut without facing criminal prosecution. The infants are then entrusted to the care of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families and placed with loving adoptive families.

In his written message to everyone attending the fundraiser in Ridgefield, Governor Rowland  thanked  “the Children First Foundation and the Children of Hope for their generous contributions in promoting and supporting adoption as a positive choice for a crisis pregnancy.”   He added, “Largely due to the success of Safe Haven programs, community organizations and the dedicated staff at the Department of Children and Families, the State of Connecticut continues to be a strong leader in addressing the needs of our children.”

From Washington, D.C. Senator Joseph Lieberman sent his thanks to The AMT Children of Hope Foundation, founded and directed by Tim Jaccard, for providing “critical assistance to mothers, infants, and families alike in ensuring that children have the opportunity to be raised in a loving and supportive environment.”

Connecticut’s new Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, Darlene Dunbar, added her voice, “imploring any parent who is in such turmoil to bring her baby to a safe place.”  The DCF has spent over $50,000 for broadcast ads and brochures and has provided services for four babies that have been brought to hospitals under the provisions of the Connecticut Safe Haven law.  But, she added, protecting  “vulnerable infants is not the job of the State alone.  We have many partners in this effort.  Starting with family members and neighbors and extending to all the people who have contact with a young woman in the schools, communities and elsewhere, we must all do our part.  I congratulate the Children First Foundation and the Children of Hope for doing theirs.”
   
The purpose of The Children First Foundation is to promote and support adoption as a positive choice for unwanted pregnancies and unwanted newborns.  The CFF 2002 Charity Concert for Adoption raised $2,000 for New York State Baby Safe Haven Program and this year’s fundraiser helped to raise over $3,000 for The Children of Hope Baby-Safe Haven Program in Connecticut.   “Helping and protecting desperate young women with crisis pregnancies and giving them and their babies a good choice – adoption – is what we are all about,” commented Elizabeth Rex, CFF’s President and Co-Founder.

Under Sec. 5 of Connecticut’s Safe Haven Bill No. 5023, The Office of The Attorney General works closely with the DCF to “prepare a public information program about the process established under this act.”  In his letter of support to Dr. Rex, Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sent his “deepest appreciation and admiration to (CFF’s) members for the outstanding work that they do in advocating that every abandoned child should have a home with adoptive parents who love that child unconditionally.”

Also devoted to helping Tim Jaccard and Ann Dandrow who co-sponsored the Safe Haven Bill, is Robin Surdel, Founder and Director of Robyn’s Nest Parenting Network, and Editor of Connecticut Family Today, who generously sponsored CFF’s event and was its lovely and animated master of ceremonies. Robyn’s family-oriented organization also generously taped the pre-concert press conference for use on one of its upcoming television programs. The event was deliciously prepared and generously supported by Parma Catering in Ridgefield.

As its grand finale, CFF’s Directors, Advisory Board Members, Representatives and the many other generous supporters who attended the Ridgefield fundraiser travelled by car from the Keeler Tavern Museum to the nearby Ridgefield Playhouse where they attended a beautiful concert performed by the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra which featured New York Philharmonic violinist Charles Rex in a magnificent performance of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.”  Mr. Rex is a Director and Co-Founder of The Children First Foundation and, as always, generously donated his “superb artistry… and unerring musical taste” (in the words of the Ridgefield Press) to support safe haven programs in the tri-state area where CFF is actively involved in putting “the children first” and promoting adoption.