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


List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation

CWLA Summary for Louisiana

Which babies may be relinquished?
  • "Newborn:" child not more than 30 days old.
Who may relinquish a baby?
  • No affirmative expression that someone intends to return for the child.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
  • Protection from Liability:
    • Affirmative defense to prosecution for a criminal act of neglect, abandonment, molestation or cruelty, or a crime against the child.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
  • Any individual at a designated emergency care facility:
    • Licensed hospital
    • Public health unit
    • Fire station
    • Police Station
    • Pregnancy crisis facility
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
  • Provide the child with any necessary care.
    • Relinquishment shall be considered as parental consent for treatment and care.
  • Notify the Department of Social Services within 24 hours of the relinquishment.
Is the Safe Haven protected from liability for its actions?
  • Yes: No action shall be brought against a safe haven for good faith actions related to the relinquishment and care of the child unless misconduct or gross negligence causes injury to the child.
Rights of the Relinquishing Parent
  • Procedure to Reclaim Custody:
    • A parent of a relinquished child may file a legal proceeding to establish parental rights.
      • Must establish parental rights by proving he/she has manifested a substantial commitment to his/her parental responsibilities and that he/she is a fit parent.
      • Petition shall be filed in the parish in which the child was relinquished.
    • If maternity or paternity is at issue, the court shall order a blood or tissue test and an expedited report.
    • If the court finds the petitioning parent has established his or her parental rights, the court shall give the parent legal custody of the child.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
  • Department of Social Services shall take custody and control of the child within 24 hours.
  • Search all listings of missing children to insure the child has not been reported missing.
  • File and pursue to judgment a petition to terminate the parental rights of the parents of the child.
  • Relinquishment may be grounds for termination of parental rights.
Long-Term Solutions
  • Collect Data on Relinquishment:
    • Department of Social Services shall evaluate the program and submit a report, including recommendations for revisions and improvements, to the House and Senate.
  • Amends Children's Code Articles 1101 and 1193 and enacts Children's Code Article 1015(7) and Title XVII.
  • Unless otherwise specifically provided in this Title, no provision shall preclude the application of nor be construed to supersede any other provision of Titles VI, X, XI, or XII of the Children's Code.

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