Infant Safe Havens

What are Infant Safe Haven Laws?

Infant safe haven laws are intended to serve as an incentive for a woman in crisis to place her baby in a safe place where the baby will be protected and provided with medical care.

Safe haven laws generally allow the birth parent to remain anonymous and to be shielded from prosecution for abandonment or neglect in exchange for safely surrendering the baby to a safe haven.

In most States with safe haven laws, a parent may surrender the baby to a safe haven but is some states only the mother may relinquish the infant.  Other States allow either parent of the baby, an agent of the parent or another person having custody of the child to take the baby to a safe haven.

Safe haven providers include hospitals, emergency medical services, police stations, and fire stations. Generally, anyone on staff at these institutions can receive an infant, and the provider is authorized to provide any care and treatment the infant may require.

Anonymity for the parent or agent of the parent may be expressly guaranteed in the state's law or the law may state that the safe haven cannot compel the parent or agent of the parent to provide identifying information.

In most States with safe haven laws, custody of the infant who has been relinquished will be transferred to the Child Welfare Department. This Department has responsibility for placing the child into foster care, usually in a pre-adoptive home, and for petitioning the court for the involuntary ending of the parental rights of the birth mother and the rights of the birth father.

lf you are thinking of using the Safe Haven law, you may first want to contact me, Dr Berger, at Adoption Services so I can review with you all of your choices.

Where Can I Find Additional Sources of Information?

To find information about safe havens in all of the States and territories, view the complete printable PDF, Infant Safe Haven Laws: Summary of State Laws (PDF - 636 KB). You may as lo want to read the Child Welfare Information Gateway article Infant Safe Haven Laws.

Another option to placing a child in a safe haven is to contact us at Adoption Services so we can help assure your child will not go into the state child welfare system, will not be placed into foster care, but will be placed with the perfect adopting family that you approve of. We are available 24 hours/day, 7-days/week. Call our toll free number (1(800)943-0400) us and we will immediately help you. Please visit the link "Ways we can help you"

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