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Ribbon cutting ceremony hosted for Hope's Cradle in Strathmore

Hope's Cradle
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A last resort option for parents who feel they cannot care for their newborn opened on Saturday.

The Hope's Cradle, an initiative to allow parents to safely and anonymously leave a child if they feel they cannot care for them, is now located at the fire station in Strathmore. Once an infant is left in the cradle, a silent alarm will inform staff.

After a baby is dropped off, parents have 30 days to contact authorities if they want to change their decision.

"We want to make (parents) comfortable knowing that the child will be cared for and will be safe and that we will have first responders there within minutes," said Capt. Eric Alexander with Strathmore Fire.

Leaving a baby in the cradle will not result in criminal charges unless the child is injured.

"This is just to help fill a gap or a need that some people may consider," said Dave Sweet, chairperson for the Gems for Gems organization — the non-profit partnering with Strathmore Fire to open the Hope's Cradle.

"Of course, there are other agencies and other ways that we can safely surrender infants. It doesn't have to be through the cradle program. But this might fit a specific person better than say a surrender in another way."

The impetus for the project came in 2017 after a baby was found abandoned in a Calgary dumpster on Christmas Eve.

The cost to install the safe abandonment cradle is around $20,000.

"We are very proud of it," Alexander added. "Our intention and hope is that it grows to other fire departments across Canada." 

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