List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation
CWLA Summary for New Jersey
Which babies may be relinquished?
Who may relinquish a baby?
- Child is or appears to be no more than 30 days old.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
- Parent must voluntarily deliver the child or voluntarily arrange for another person to deliver the child.
- Parent does not express an intent to return for the child.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
- Protection from Liability:
- Affirmative defense to prosecution for abandonment.
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
- State, county or municipal police station.
- Emergency department of a licensed general hospital.
Is the Safe Haven protected from liability for its actions?
- If the safe haven is a police station, take the child to the emergency department of a licensed general hospital.
- Hospital shall take possession of the child.
- Take any action or provide any treatment necessary to protect the child's health and safety.
- Notify the Division of Youth and Family Services no later than the first business day after taking possession.
- Yes: No civil or criminal liability for good faith acts or omissions.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
- Medical Information:
- Relinquisher is not required to provide child's medical history, but may voluntarily do so.
- Identifying Information:
- Relinquisher is not required to provide identifying information, but may voluntarily do so.
Efficacy of Safe Havens - Public Information Campaigns
- Division of Youth and Family Services shall assume the care, custody, and control of the child immediately after receiving notice.
- Search listings of missing children to insure that the child has not been reported missing.
- Child shall be treated as a child taken into possession without a court order.
- File for termination of parental rights no later than 21 days after assuming care, custody and control of the child.
- The division shall initiate a petition to terminate parental rights on the ground that the "parent has abandoned the child" pursuant to existing law.
- Not required to attempt to reunify the child with his/her parents.
- Not required to search for relatives as a placement option, or to implement other placement requirements that give preference to relatives if the division does not have identifying information about the child or parents.
- Place the child with potential adoptive parents as soon as possible.
- Commissioner of Human Services shall establish an educational and public information program to:
- Promote safe placement alternatives for children.
- Discuss the confidentiality offered to birth parents.
- Provide information about adoption procedures.
- Establish 24-hour, toll free hotline to make information widely available.
- Provide hospitals and police stations with information about social service agencies that may be available to a person voluntarily delivering a child.
- $500,000 of the General Fund to the Department of Human Services is appropriated to establish the educational program and hotline.
- Collect Data on Relinquishment:
- Commissioner of Human Services shall report to the Governor and Legislature no later than 2 years after the law becomes effective about the effects of the program and any recommendations the commissioner may have.
- Amends P.L.1991, c.275 and supplements Title 30 of the Revised Statutes.
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