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

 
 

List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation

CWLA Summary for New Mexico

Which babies may be relinquished?
  • "Infant:" Child no more than 90 days old, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
Who may relinquish a baby?
  • Person.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
  • Protection from Liability:
    • Not subject to prosecution for abandonment or abuse if the child was not harmed when it was left at a hospital.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
  • Staff of a licensed hospital or health care clinic.
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
  • Accept the child.
  • May ask the relinquisher for the parents' names, the child's name, and the child's medical history.
    • Relinquisher is not required to provide information.
    • Any information provided is confidential.
  • Hospital is deemed to have received consent for medical services provided to the child.
  • In conjunction with the Children, Youth and Families Department, develop procedures for appropriate staff to accept and provide necessary medical services to a child left at the hospital and the person leaving the child, if necessary.
  • May provide the relinquisher with:
    • Information about adoption services.
    • Brochures or telephone numbers for agencies that provide adoption services or counseling.
    • Written information about whom to contact at the Children, Youth, and Families Department if the parent decides to seek reunification.
  • Inform the Children, Youth and Families Department about the child no later than 24 hours after receiving the child.
Is the Safe Haven protected from liability for its actions?
  • Yes: Immune from criminal and civil liability for accepting the child.
Rights of the Relinquishing Parent
  • Provide Information to Relinquisher:
    • Safe haven may provide the relinquisher with:
      • Information about adoption services.
      • Brochures or telephone numbers for agencies that provide adoption services or counseling.
      • Written information about whom to contact at the Children, Youth, and Families Department if the parent decides to seek reunification.
  • Procedure to Reclaim Custody:
    • If a person seeks reunification and their DNA matches the child's, he/she has standing to participate in proceedings regarding the child.
    • Must seek reunification within 30 days of the date the child was left at the hospital.
Children's Rights
  • Medical Information:
    • Safe haven may ask the relinquisher for the child's medical history.
      • Relinquisher is not required to provide information.
  • Identifying Information:
    • Safe haven may ask the relinquisher for the parents' names and the child's name.
      • Relinquisher is not required to provide information.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
  • Children, Youth and Families Department shall be deemed to have immediate custody of the child.
  • Conduct an investigation according to the provisions of the Abuse and Neglect Act.
  • Make reasonable efforts to determine whether the infant is an Indian child. If the child is an Indian, placement shall follow the law regarding Indian child placement preferences.
  • Child shall be deemed eligible and enrolled for Medicaid.
Efficacy of Safe Havens - Public Information Campaigns
  • Children, Youth and Families Department shall perform public outreach to educate the public about the Safe Haven program, including developing literature about the program and distributing it to hospitals.
Notes
  • Amends and enacts sections of the NMSA 1978.



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