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

 
 

List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation

CWLA Summary for Ohio

Which babies may be relinquished?
  • Child must be less than 72 hours old.
Who may relinquish a baby?
  • Parent:
    • Voluntarily delivered the child.
    • Did not express an intent to return for the child.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
  • Anonymity:
    • Relinquishing parent has the absolute right to remain anonymous. The parent may leave the safe haven at any time after the delivery of the child.
  • Protection from Liability:
    • Shall not be subject to criminal prosecution for the act of relinquishment.
    • Parent who delivers or attempts to deliver a child who has suffered any harm may be subject to arrest.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
  • Emergency medical service worker
  • Peace officer
  • Hospital employee
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
  • Take possession of the child.
  • Perform any act necessary to protect the child's health or safety.
  • Notify the public Children Services Agency.
  • If possible, make available to the parent who delivered the child the following:
    • Medical information forms created by the Director of Job and Family Services. The forms shall clearly state on each page that:
      • The information is to facilitate medical care for the child.
      • The forms may be fully or partially completed or left blank.
      • Completing the forms is completely voluntary.
      • No adverse legal consequence will result form failure to complete any part of the forms..
    • Written materials created by the Director of Job and Family Services that:
      • Describe services available to assist parents and children.
      • Include information relevant to situations that might cause parents to desert a child.
      • Include information on reunification procedures.
  • If the child has been harmed in a manner that indicates abuse or neglect, attempt to identify and pursue the person who delivered the child to the safe haven.
  • May not:
    • Coerce or try to force the parent into revealing parents' identities.
    • Pursue or follow the parent after he/she leaves.
    • Coerce or try to force the parent not to leave the child.
    • Coerce or try to force the parent to complete the medical information forms.
    • Coerce or try to force the parents to accept the materials made available.
Is the Safe Haven protected from liability for its actions?
  • Yes: Immune from civil or criminal liability for good faith actions.
Rights of the Relinquishing Parent
  • Provide Information to Relinquisher:
    • If possible, make available to the parent who delivered the child written materials created by the Director of Job and Family Services that:
      • Describe services available to assist parents and children.
      • Include information relevant to situations that might cause parents to desert a child.
      • Include information on reunification procedures.
    • Parent may refuse to accept materials.
  • Procedure to Reclaim Custody:
    • If a person seeks reunification with a child who has been adjudicated a deserted child, that person shall submit to a DNA test.
Children's Rights
  • Medical Information:
    • If possible, safe haven shall make available to the parent medical information forms created by the Director of Job and Family Services.
    • Parent may deliver the fully or partially completed forms at the same time as delivering the child or at a later time.
    • The forms shall clearly state on each page that:
      • The information is to facilitate medical care for the child
      • The forms may be fully or partially completed or left blank
      • Completing the forms is completely voluntary
      • No adverse legal consequence will result form failure to complete any part of the forms.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
  • Public Children Services Agency shall:
    • Consider the child to be in need of public care and protective services.
    • Accept and take emergency temporary custody of the child.
    • Make an investigation concerning the child.
    • Prepare and keep written records of the investigation of the child, of the care and treatment afforded the child, and any other required records.
    • File a motion requesting that the court grant temporary custody to the agency or to a private child-placing agency.
    • Provide any care in the best interest of the child.
    • Provide any care and perform any duties that are required of public children services agencies under section 5153.16 of the Revised Code.
  • Juvenile Court shall:
    • Hold an emergency hearing as soon as possible to determine whether the child is a deserted child.
    • Only be required to give notice to the parents if court has knowledge of the names of the parents.
    • If the child is determined to be deserted, grant temporary custody to a Public Children Services Agency or a Private Child Placing Agency.
    • Follow the same procedures as for a neglected child, except that there is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the child's best interest to return to the parents.
Efficacy of Safe Havens - Public Information Campaigns
  • Director of Job and Family Services shall distribute information materials to safe havens, public children services agencies, and other public or private agencies that are able to disseminate the materials to people who may need them. These materials shall:
    • Describe services available to assist parents and children.
    • Include information relevant to situations that might cause parents to desert a child.
    • Include information on reunification procedures.
Notes
  • Enacts sections 2151.3515 - 2151.3530 of the Revised Code.



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