You can leave your unharmed baby, up to 60 days old, with an employee at any medical facility, fire department, hospital, police department, emergency medical services provider, pregnancy crisis center, medical clinic, public health unit or child advocacy center in Louisiana.
A distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for his or her infant can give up custody, no questions asked. He or she must simply bring the infant to a safe haven location and make sure they locate a person to give the child. As long as the child shows no signs of intentional abuse, no name or other information is required. The specific locations and maximum age of the child varies from state to state. Visit www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org for more information.
To place your infant for adoption, you must make an adoption plan and enter into a legal contract where you forfeit your right to custody of your child. Safe Haven arrangements do not require paperwork or contracts. The process is anonymous, so long as your baby is unharmed.
Baby Safe Haven laws allow you to give your baby to a responsible adult at a designated location, and walk away, no questions asked. If you do not return to reclaim your baby, your parental rights will be terminated in a few months, and the child will be adopted by a family waiting for a child.
No. The parent may choose to have someone else bring in the infant. It can be a family member, a friend, a priest or minister, a social worker – practically any responsible adult.
Yes. The parent can call the Safe Haven Hotline at 1-888-510-BABY to receive counseling and get details on the address and directions to the closest safe haven in your state.
No. A parent can walk in anytime, provided that there are staff present to receive the child at the safe haven location.
No. Nothing is required. However, safe haven staff will record any information that a parent is willing to share, such as the child's health, race, date of birth, place of birth or the medical history of the parents. This could be very useful in caring for the child.
The child will be examined and given medical treatment, if needed. The Social Services Administration will then take custody through Child Protective Services and place the child with an appropriate caregiver.
Infant abandonment laws or "Baby Safe Haven" laws exist to enable a person to relinquish an unwanted infant anonymously. If a mother cannot care for her child, she can bring that baby into a Safe Haven location and leave the baby with a responsible adult, no questions asked. As long as the baby has not been abused, the person may do so without fear of arrest or prosecution.
The purpose of Safe Haven is to protect unwanted babies from being hurt or killed because they were abandoned. You may have heard tragic stories of babies left in dumpsters or public toilets. The parents who committed these acts may have been under severe emotional distress. The mothers may have hidden their pregnancies, fearful of what would happen if their families found out. Because they were afraid and had nowhere to turn for help, they abandoned their babies.
Abandoning a baby puts the child in extreme danger. Too often, it results in the child's death. It is also illegal, with severe consequences. But with Safe Haven, this tragedy doesn't ever have to happen again.
It’s rare that a mother changes her mind. But, if you do, you will have a few days to come back and speak with the authorities about what arrangements can be made for the baby.
Safe Haven laws and locations are only for infants. If your child isn’t an infant, there's no way the Safe Haven law can be used. If your child is an infant, rest assured that when a baby comes into the Safe Haven program, authorities across the U.S. are notified and a thorough check is done to make sure no one is looking for the baby.