Safe haven laws for newborns are in place to help mothers have a designated place to leave a baby in the event they feel like they cannot take care of the baby. This is in place to try and prevent the baby from being left in places like dumpsters or sides of roads. These laws also referred to as “Baby Moses Laws” are important statutes to try and keep unwanted babies a safe place in the event the parents no longer what them.
In 1999 Texas was the first state to enact the “Baby Moses Law” These laws generally help and allow the parent mother or father to remain anonymous and not be held accountable to criminal charges and prosecution for child endangerment, neglect, or abandonment.
2008 all 50 states had a form of the safe haven laws for newborns
By 2008 every state within the United States had made a form of the law so that babies that were unwanted had a safe place to be dropped off. Each state has there own type or form of the law however, almost every state has a set of places that are the same. For example, almost every state uses a Hospital as a safe haven for babies. Keep in mind that in four states including Puerto Rico, only the mother is allowed to relinquish the infant.
Same for a fire station. There are different ages that are allowed for example Montana safe haven laws state that a baby up to 30 days can be brought to a Hospital, fire station, law enforcement agency. Georgia’s law states that a mother may leave her baby up to 7 days old at the same types of facilities. To read more about each law go here.
Safe haven providers responsibilities
Safe havens are required to accept emergency protective custody of the infant. Also, the safe haven is required to provide medical care if the infant requires such care. In some states that receive babies and they are not hospitals they are required to transport that infant to the hospital as soon as they can. Also, the child welfare department is required to be notified as soon as possible.
Protection for parents
Depending on what state the parents are in will depend on what type of anonymity the parent will receive. In 16 states and the District of Columbia, there is anonymity under an expressly guaranteed in the statute. In 27 states the safe haven cannot compel the agent or the parent to provide any identifying information. In 15 states an assurance of confidentiality for any info that can be voluntarily provided by the parent.
Use a safe haven instead of leaving a child just anywhere
There are times when a mother may feel overwhelmed when having a child for many reasons. If this is the case and you or someone you know are thinking about giving up your child we encourage you to do so by finding a safe haven for your newborn. This will allow your child to stay safe and have a chance to grow in life. Here is a list of safe havens for newborns to find a location in your area.