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Home > Practice Areas > Baby Abandonment > Other Links and Resources

 
 

List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation

CWLA Summary for Kentucky

Which babies may be relinquished?
  • "Newborn infant:" infant who is medically determined to be less than 72 hours old.
Who may relinquish a baby?
  • Parent or person.
  • Relinquisher must express an intent to leave the child and not return.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
  • Anonymity:
    • Relinquisher's identity is confidential.
    • Person or parent who relinquishes "shall have the right to remain anonymous."
    • If there are indicators of child physical abuse or child neglect, the confidentiality/anonymity does not apply.
    • Emergency Medical Services for Children Program shall develop guidelines and protocols for methods to preserve parental confidentiality.
  • Protection from Liability:
    • Relinquishing parent not considered to have abandoned or endangered the child.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
  • Emergency medical services provider (hospital that offers emergency services);
  • Police Station;
  • Fire Station.
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
  • Immediately arrange for the child to be taken to the nearest hospital emergency room.
  • Hospital emergency room:
    • Admit the child.
    • Provide all necessary medical care, diagnostic tests, and medical treatment to any newborn infant brought to the hospital when the identity of the parents is unknown.
      • Hospital has implied consent to any and all appropriate medical treatment.
    • Shall not pursue or follow the relinquisher.
    • Make available materials to gather health and medical information concerning the child and parents.
      • Offer this information to the relinquisher;
      • State that acceptance is voluntary and completion of the materials may be done anonymously.
    • Immediately contact the local office of the Department for Community Based Services.
  • Emergency Medical Services for Children Program shall develop guidelines and protocols for stabilization, treatment, and transportation regarding relinquished babies
Is the Safe Haven protected from liability for its actions?
  • Yes: Immune from criminal or civil liability for acts in accordance with this chapter.
Rights of the Relinquishing Parent
  • Provide Information to Relinquisher:
    • Emergency Medical Services for Children Program shall develop guidelines and protocols for providing voluntary information to parents.
    • Cabinet shall make available standardized health, medical, and background information forms for use in gathering voluntary, nonidentifying information from relinquishers.
      • Clearly state on each page that the information requested is designed to facilitate medical care for the child.
      • Include information on family services, termination of parental rights, and adoption.
      • Include information on the importance of medical and health information regarding the child.
      • Include written notification that failure to contact the Department for Community Based Services and assert a claim of parental rights within 30 days results in the commencement of proceedings for involuntary termination of parental rights and placement of the child for adoption.
  • Procedure to Reclaim Custody:
    • If a claim of parental rights is made prior to the termination of parental rights, the case shall be remanded to the District Court, and an adjudicatory hearing shall be conducted within 10 days.
    • Court may order genetic testing to establish maternity or paternity.
    • Cabinet shall conduct a child protective services investigation or assessment and home evaluation.
    • Further proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with KRS Chapter 620.
Children's Rights
  • Medical Information:
    • Cabinet shall make available and safe havens shall distribute standardized health, medical, and background information forms for use in gathering voluntary, nonidentifying information from relinquishers.
      • Clearly state on each page that the information requested is designed to facilitate medical care for the child.
      • Include information on the importance of medical and health information regarding the child.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
  • Safe haven takes physical custody.
  • Parent who relinquishes child:
    • Waives the right to notification required by subsequent court proceedings until such time as a claim of parental rights is made;
    • Waives legal standing to make a claim of action against any person who accepts physical custody of the newborn infant.
  • Cabinet shall immediately seek an emergency custody order.
  • No child protective services investigation or assessment shall be initiated regarding the abandonment of an infant unless indicators of child physical abuse or child neglect are present.
  • Upon release from the hospital, place child in a foster home to provide concurrent planning placement services:
    • Foster family shall work with the cabinet on reunification with the birth family, if known, and shall seek to adopt the child if reunification cannot be accomplished.
  • Cabinet shall request assistance from law enforcement officials to investigate through the Missing Child Information Center and other national resources to ensure that the child is not a missing child (during initial 30 days).
  • As soon as possible following the 30 day placement period, Cabinet shall file a petition seeking the involuntary termination of parental rights of the unknown parents and authority to place the child for adoption.
    • If a claim of parental rights is made at any time prior to the court order, the Circuit Court may hold the action in abeyance for a period of time not to exceed 90 days and remand the case to District Court.
Efficacy of Safe Havens - Public Information Campaigns
  • Subject to available funding, Cabinet shall produce and distribute a media campaign to promote safe placement alternatives for infants, the confidentiality offered to birth parents, and information regarding adoption procedures.
Notes
  • Amends KRS Chapters 311, which deals with the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program, 211, 405, 602, and 620.



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