now there’s a safe haven
for unwanted infants
In New Jersey, the Safe Haven Infant Protection Act allows an individual to give up an unwanted infant with no fear of arrest or prosecution. No names or records are required. The parents-or someone acting on their behalf-can bring a baby less than 30 days old to any hospital emergency room or police station. The Division of Youth and Family Services will immediately take the child into custody and place the infant in a foster or pre-adoptive home.
More About Safe Haven….
What is Safe Haven?
It’s a new law: the New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act. Under this law a person may give up an unwanted infant anonymously. As long as the baby has not been abused, the person may do so without fear of arrest or prosecution.
How does it work?
A distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant can give up custody of a baby less than 30 days old safely, legally and anonymously. All that is required is that the baby be brought to a hospital emergency room or police station in New Jersey. As long as the child shows no signs of intentional abuse, no name or other information is required.
Can only a parent bring in the baby?
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 anyone.
Can you help a parent decide where to bring the baby?
Yes. The parent can call the Safe Haven Hotline,
1-877-839-2339, and get the address and directions for any hospital or police station in the state.
Does a parent have to call before bringing in the baby?
No. A parent can walk in anytime.
Does a parent have to tell anything to the people taking the baby?
No. Nothing is required. However, hospital personnel or police 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.
What happens to the baby?
The child will be examined and given medical treatment, if needed. Then the Division of Youth and Family Services will immediately take custody and place the child in a foster or pre-adoptive home.
What happens to the mother?
If the mother brings in the baby, she will be offered medical treatment and social services. She can, of course, refuse if she wishes. Once she has safely turned over the baby, she is free to go.
Why is New Jersey doing this?
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 in New Jersey again.