Calgary’s first safe surrender box to open in northwest child and family centre

A brand new facility that will be home to Calgary’s first infant safe surrender site marked its grand opening Wednesday.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, Lt. Governor Salma Lakhani, and Minister of Children and Family Services, Searle Turton will be at the Children’s Cottage Society’s (CCS) 35,000 square foot building in the northwest to cut the ribbon and officially open the facility, which will support children and families needing respite care or parenting support.

The safe surrender site, known as Hope’s Cradle, will allow parents to safety and anonymously surrender a child at a secure location if they feel they can’t care for them.

An alarm will be prompted when a child is placed at the location.

That service will officially open on April 15.

Construction on CCS’s Child and Family Centre began two years ago and will be the first of its kind in the city, according to director of development Sarah Hughes.

“We’re not concerned with the reasons, we’re concerned with the safety of the child,” she previously told CityNews. “So, the small door — for lack of a better phrase is on the side of the building and it says quite clearly on the outside it’s a Hope’s Cradle. Inside the door is a warmed, small room that contains a bassinet and a package for the parents.”

The package will include information on supports for parents, as well as details on how the babies will be cared for, and what to do if the parents change their mind.

Hughes says there are many reasons why one might opt to use the nursery, adding her biological mother did the same with her when she was born.

“It can be societal pressure, it can be mental health issues, it can be family circumstances, it can be anything, or a combination of all the above,” she said. “But, if it’s done right, it works. For me, it worked.”

The cradle will be located not far from the northwest community of Bowness, where a newborn baby was found dead in a dumpster on Boxing Day in 2017.

Hughes said this case shows just how badly a site like this is needed in Calgary, noting that Edmonton’s safe surrender sites have been used twice since 2013.

-With files from Dione Wearmouth

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today