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

 
 

List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation

CWLA Summary for Washington

Which babies may be relinquished?
  • "Newborns:" Live human beings less than 72 hours old.
Who may relinquish a baby?
  • Parent.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
  • Anonymity:
    • Safe haven shall not require relinquishing parent to provide identifying information.
    • Safe haven shall attempt to protect the anonymity of the relinquishing parent.
  • Protection from Liability:
    • Relinquishing parent is not subject to criminal liability under parts of law in question.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
  • Qualified person (person parent reasonably believes to be an employee, volunteer, or staff member) at:
    • Emergency department of a licensed hospital during hours of operation; or
    • Fire station during hours of operation and while fire personnel are present.
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
  • Notify child protective services within 24 hours after receipt of child.
  • Not require relinquishing parent to provide identifying information.
  • Attempt to protect anonymity of the parent.
  • Provide the relinquishing parent with:
    • Opportunity to give family medical information;
    • Referral information about adoption options, counseling, appropriate medical and emotional aftercare services, domestic violence, and legal.
  • Department of Social and Health Services Task Force shall develop model forms of policies and procedures for safe havens to use in receiving children.
Is the Safe Haven protected from liability for its actions?
  • Yes: The safe haven and its personnel are immune from civil or criminal liability for accepting a child under this section.
Rights of the Relinquishing Parent
  • Provide Information to Relinquisher:
    • Safe haven shall provide relinquishing parent with referral information about adoption options, counseling, appropriate medical and emotional aftercare services, domestic violence, and legal rights to the parent seeking to transfer the newborn.
Children's Rights
  • Medical Information:
    • Safe Haven shall provide relinquishing parent with an opportunity to provide family medical information.
    • Department of Social and Health Services Task Force shall make recommendations regarding methods of providing access to the medical history of the child and parents, consistent with the protection of the anonymity of the parents.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
  • Child Protective Services shall assume custody of the child within 24 hours after receiving notification of relinquishment.
Efficacy of Safe Havens - Public Information Campaigns
  • Department of Social and Health Services Task force shall recommend how public or private funding may be obtained to support a program of public education.
  • Task force shall consider all reasonable methods of educating Washington residents about the need for prenatal and post-delivery health care
Long-Term Solutions
  • Department of Social and Health Services shall convene a task force to recommend methods of implementing this act, including how public or private funding may be obtained to support a program of public education:
    • Consider all reasonable methods of educating Washington residents about the need for prenatal and postdelivery health care.
    • Consider, and make recommendations regarding:
      • Ways to meet medical and emotional needs of the mother and to improve the promotion of adoption as an alternative to abandonment;
      • Methods of providing access to the medical history of the child and parents, consistent with the protection of the anonymity of the parents.
    • Develop model forms of policies and procedures for safe havens to use in receiving children.
    • Submit report and recommendations not later than December 1, 2002.
Notes
  • Amends RCW 9A.42.060, 9A.42.070, 9A.42.080, 26.20.030, and 26.20.035; adds new section to chapter 13.34 RCW
  • Purpose: "The legislature does not intent to encourage the abandonment of newborn children nor to change existing law relating to notification to parents under chapter 13.34 RCW, but rather to assure that abandonment does not occur and that all newborns have an opportunity for adequate health care and a stable home life."



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