List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation
CWLA Summary for Rhode Island
Which babies may be relinquished?
Who may relinquish a baby?
- "Infant:" child which is 30 days old or younger.
- Child must be unharmed.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
- Parent or person acting at the direction of the parent:
- Must voluntarily leave the child with a staff member at the safe haven.
- Does not express an intent to return for the child.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
- Any information voluntarily provided by the relinquisher about the identity or medical history of the child, family, or relinquisher is confidential.
- Protection from Liability:
- Immune from prosecution for abandonment.
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
- Medical emergency facility
- Fire station
- Police station
Is the Safe Haven protected from liability for its actions?
- Take temporary physical custody of the child.
- Must not require relinquisher to provide any information.
- Person may voluntarily provide information about the identity and medical history of himself/herself, the child, or the parents.
- Information about identity is confidential.
- Offer the relinquisher written information about the legal effect of leaving the child (developed and provided at no charge by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families).
- Safe haven is authorized to provide medical care and treatment necessary for the childs well being.
- Immediately notify the Department of Children, Youth and Families. (Department shall establish a procedure by which a safe haven can notify the Department.)
Rights of the Relinquishing Parent
- Yes: Immune from criminal or civil liability.
- Provide Information to Relinquisher:
- Safe haven shall offer the relinquisher written information about the legal effect of leaving the child.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
- Medical Information:
- Relinquisher may voluntarily provide information about the medical history of the child and parents.
- Identifying Information:
- Relinquisher may voluntarily provide information about the identity of the child and parents.
Efficacy of Safe Havens - Public Information Campaigns
- Department of Children, Youth, and Families shall immediately respond to the safe haven and take the child into temporary protective custody.
- Make arrangements for the child to undergo a comprehensive medical exam.
- File an emergency petition for the removal of the child from the care and custody of the parents.
- Commence proceedings to terminate parental rights in accordance with existing law (RIGL section 15-7-7).
- Provided that no person has asserted a claim to be the parent within 90 days of the Department taking custody of the child
- Leaving a child at a safe haven and failing to assert a claim within 90 days shall be prima facie evidence of permanent abandonment in the termination of parental rights proceedings.
- Department of Children, Youth, and Families shall establish a "Safe Haven for Infants Awareness Program," including a toll free telephone line, pamphlets and literature, and advertisements to disseminate information relative to this law.
- Collect Data on Relinquishment:
- Department of Children, Youth, and Families shall report annually to the general assembly as to the status of any children left at safe havens and the costs incurred to the department.
- Amends Title 23 of the General Laws entitled "Health and Safety."
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