Russian cities introduced for the first time the anonymous baby drop boxes, where unwanted children could be left.
The Krasnodar Territory in south Russia bought five of the so-called baby drop boxes in the beginning of November so mothers could drop off unwanted children anonymously.
The first three boxes were installed in Sochi, Novorossiysk and Armavir, and by the end of the month one child had already been left.
The move was aimed at providing sanitary conditions for unwanted children, instead of “having them left in garbage containers”, health officials told Ria Novosti.
Elena Redko, the head of the Krasnodar Health Department, told Ria Novosti the first child to be left, a baby girl, was healthy and would be passed to childcare officials.
“The girl will be put into a children’s home but I think she will be adopted soon because we have fewer children in the region than families who want to have them,” Elena Redko said.
The move mirrors steps taken in South Africa, where anonymous “baby safes” were introduced by a children’s charity in Spring last year.
Installed at a community centre in Cape Town, the Out of Africa Children’s Fund’s boxes allow mothers to leave their baby in a locked place without identifying themselves.
Fund chief executive Kim Highfield said at the time she hoped the system would allow struggling mothers to give their children up for adoption safely.
“Sometimes they leave their babies in dangerous areas where they have been attacked by dogs or come to other harm,” Kim Highfield said.
“Our scheme is about providing an alternative, so that new mothers at least have somewhere safe to leave their child.”
The Russian project was slated to involve the Siberian cities of Perm, Tomsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk and the European Russian town of Kirov.