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

 
 

List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation

CWLA Summary for South Carolina

Which babies may be relinquished?
  • Child must be less than 30 days old.
Who may relinquish a baby?
  • Parent or person directed by the parent:
    • Must voluntarily deliver the child into the physical custody of an employee of a safe haven.
    • Does not express an intent to return for the child.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
  • Protection from Liability:
    • Immune from criminal prosecution.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
  • Hospital
  • Hospital outpatient facility
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
  • Take temporary custody of the child.
  • Perform any act necessary to protect the health or safety of the child.
  • Offer the relinquisher information concerning the legal effect of leaving the child.
  • Must ask the relinquisher to identify any parent other than the person leaving the child.
  • Must attempt to obtain medical and background information.
    • Give the person the form and a prepaid envelope for mailing the form to the Department of Social Services.
    • Must include information about the use of a controlled substance by the mother (not admissible as evidence of unlawful use of a controlled substance in court proceedings).
  • Must not disclose information to anyone other than the Department of Social Services.
  • Notify the Department of Social Services no later than the close of the first business day after the date the hospital takes possession of the child.
Rights of the Relinquishing Parent
  • Provide Information to Relinquisher:
    • Offer the relinquisher information concerning the legal effect of leaving the child.
Children's Rights
  • Medical Information:
    • Must attempt to obtain medical and background information.
      • Give the person the form and a prepaid envelope for mailing the form to the Department of Social Services.
      • Must include information about the use of a controlled substance by the mother (not admissible as evidence of unlawful use of a controlled substance in court proceedings).
  • Identifying Information:
    • Must ask the relinquisher to identify any parent other than the person leaving the child.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
  • Department of Social Services shall take legal custody of the child immediately upon receipt of notice by the hospital; and shall take physical custody of the child as soon as practicable, but no later than 24 hours after receiving notice that the child is ready for discharge from the hospital.
  • Department is not required to initiate a child protective services investigation.
  • Contact law enforcement to assure that the child is not a missing child. Law enforcement must contact the department if a missing child report is received within 30 days that might relate to the child.
  • Within 48 hours of taking custody, publish a notice in a newspaper and send a news release stating:
    • The circumstances under which the child was left at the hospital.
    • Description of the child.
    • Date, time and place of permanency hearing.
    • Any person wishing to assert parental rights must do so at the hearing.
  • If the person leaving the child identified anyone as a parent, the notice must be sent by certified mail to the last known address of that person at least 2 weeks prior to the hearing.
  • Within 48 hours of taking custody, file a petition alleging that:
    • the child has been abandoned,
    • the court should dispense with reasonable efforts to preserve or reunify the family, and
    • termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child.
  • Hearing must be held no earlier than 30 and no later than 60 days after the department takes custody.
  • Relinquishment is conclusive evidence that the requirements for termination of parental rights have been satisfied as to any parent who left the child or acted with the person leaving the child.
Fathers' Rights
  • Publish Notice:
    • Within 48 hours of taking custody, Department of Social Services must publish a notice in a newspaper and send a news release stating:
      • The circumstances under which the child was left at the hospital
      • Description of the child
      • Date, time and place of permanency hearing
      • Any person wishing to assert parental rights must do so at the hearing
Notes
  • Amends the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding section 20-7-85.



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