Frequently Asked Questions
How Does The Law Work?
The law saves babies from unsafe abandonment. The law states that parents who do not harm their infant will not be prosecuted for abandonment if they hand their newborn to a responsible adult at a Safe Haven location. It gives a desperate parent a responsible alternative. Depending on your state, the law tells you where are the accepted locations that you can leave your baby and up to what age, with no questions asked as long as they are unharmed.
What Do I Say When I Leave My Baby?
Once you get to one of the accepted locations (Hospitals, Law Enforcement Agencies, etc.- depending on your state), you will need to relinquish your baby to one of the staff members at the location, and explain that you are relinquishing your infant to them under the Safe Haven Law. You may be asked to fill out paperwork requesting medical information and other important facts about your newborn, yourself, and the father. Completing this information is optional and will be used to share important medical issues with the infant's adopted family. After relinquishing the infant, the staff will ensure your infant is not harmed. After the infant is medically cleared, you will be free to leave with no questions asked.
Is Safe Haven The Same As Safe Place?
NO. Businesses and community buildings such as fire stations, gas stations, and libraries are designated as “Safe Place” sites. Any youth in crisis can walk into one of the nearly 20,000 Safe Places across the country and ask an employee for help. These locations display the yellow, diamond-shaped Safe Place sign on their location.
Can I Take My Infant To A Safe Place?
NO. A newborn may NOT be dropped off at a QuikTrip Gas Station, other gas stations, or any location that participates in Safe Place. Hospitals and hospital staff are approved Safe Haven providers in every state, other locations may differ per state.
How Can I Adopt A Safe Haven Baby?
Each state has a different process for adopting a Safe Haven infant. Contact state Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to obtain Safe Haven adoption process, this is the best place to begin. Newborns are placed with approved DCFS foster family or a DCFS approved Adoption Agency. An individual or family interested in adopting a newborn is directed to learn the state's Safe Haven newborn placement process, either as an approved foster family or an approved adoptive family.
NSHA does not place a newborn for adoption or work with specific adoption agencies. NSHA leaders work with adoption agencies across the nation to respond to a crisis situation for a parent in need.
Can The Parent Get The Infant Back?
Safe Haven law provides an anonymous and confidential safe place for a newborn when a mother or parent is unable or unwilling to care for the baby. The intent is that a parent would not return for the newborn. If a situation does occur that a parent wishes to reclaim the baby the parent would contact the Department of Child and Family Services to initiate this process and consider obtaining legal assistance to regain custody of the child.
For a father that believes his newborn may be relinquished using Safe Haven law, contact state putative fathers registry to register for notification and instructions.
Is The Safe Haven Law The Same In All States?
Every state does have a Safe Haven law, but the law may be called something different such as “Safe Surrender”, “Safe Baby Haven”, “Baby Moses” or “Safe Place for Newborns”. These are examples of different names that support the Safe Haven laws and programs. Additionally, each state has a different Safe Haven law. Each state includes hospitals as a Safe Haven, but other locations differ per state. Check here to see what your state's law says!
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