safe haven

Safe Haven for Newborns

On August 8, 2001, a new law went into effect that creates safe havens for parents of newborns who are considering the abandonment of their infants. The parent may bring the baby to one of several safe haven providers, including fire stations, hospitals, churches and welfare agencies. The parent may remain anonymous and will not be required to answer any questions.

The Mokena Fire Protection District (MFPD) is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day to accept a newborn infant. Once in the possession of the fire department, the baby will be taken to a hospital, then Child Protective Services will be called to take over its care.

Safe Haven for Newborn Infants Law:

A person is not guilty of abuse of a child solely for leaving an unharmed newborn infant with a safe haven provider. If a parent or agent of a parent voluntarily delivers the parent's newborn infant to a safe haven provider, the safe haven provider shall take custody of the newborn infant if both of the following are true:

1. The parent did not express intent to return for the newborn infant.

2. The safe haven provider reasonably believes that the child is a newborn infant.

The safe haven provider shall report receipt of a newborn infant to child protective services of the department of economic security as soon as practicable after taking custody of the newborn infant.

A parent or agent of a parent who leaves a newborn infant with a safe haven provider may remain anonymous, and the safe haven provider shall not require the parent or agent to answer any questions. A safe haven provider shall offer written information about information and referral organizations.

A safe haven provider who receives a newborn infant pursuant to this section is not liable for any civil or other damages for any act or omission by the safe haven provider in maintaining custody of the newborn infant if the safe haven provider acts in good faith without gross negligence.

For the purposes of this section:

1."Newborn infant" means an infant who is seventy-two hours old or younger.

2."Safe haven provider" means any of the following:

- A firefighter who is on duty.
- An emergency medical technician who is on duty.
- A staff member at a health care institution that is classified as a hospital or an outpatient treatment center.
- A staff member at any of the following that posts a public notice that it is willing to accept a newborn infant pursuant to this section:

*a private licensed child welfare agency
*a licensed adoption agency
*a church