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List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation

CWLA Summary for Maryland

Which babies may be relinquished?
  • Newborn-defined as 3 days old or younger
Who may relinquish a baby?
  • Parent:
    • Does not express intent to return for the newborn.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
  • Anonymity:
    • Parent has the right to remain anonymous.
  • Protection from Liability:
    • Relinquishment will not be considered a criminal act as long as child is unharmed.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
  • Hospital personnel
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
  • Provide child with any necessary care.
  • Provide emergency medical care if needed.
  • Protect the physical health and safety of the child.
  • Notify the local department within 24 hours of accepting the child.
Is the Safe Haven protected from liability for its actions?
  • Yes: Hospital personnel immune from any formal action unless harm or injury to the child was caused to the child.
Rights of the Relinquishing Parent
  • Natural parent who relinquished child may file a petition to establish parental rights before they have been terminated.
  • The court will determine whether it is the best interest of the child to return to the natural parent.
  • The court will order genetic testing to establish maternity and/or paternity.
  • Local department will investigate and evaluate natural parent to provide recommendation to court.
  • Court will make a decision based on the findings and if the natural parent poses a risk to the future safety of the child.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
  • Local department shall take custody and control of relinquished child within 24 hours.
  • Local department shall perform a thorough search of the Missing Children Information Clearinghouse and state and national resources listing missing children.
  • Place child in a 30-day placement.
  • After 30 days, local department will file a petition to terminate the parental rights.
  • Crossfiled with House Bill 74
  • Bill added to Article - Family Law section 5-7B-01 through 5-7B-04, inclusive, to be under the new subtitle "Subtitle 7B. Newborn Relinquishment."

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