The Idaho Safe Haven Act 6/26/2014
What is the Idaho Safe Haven Act?
The Idaho Safe Haven Act, passed in 2001, is intended to provide a safe alternative for parents who might otherwise abandon their baby. The parent must deliver the baby to a “safe haven”. This law is a response to incidents where young parents have abandoned newborns, for fear of being known, or simply because they did not know what else to do.
What is a Safe Haven?
The following people and places are Safe Havens. Any one of these health care professionals will accept your baby, care for it, and start the process of finding the baby a home.
- Hospitals and clinics
- Doctors and doctors’ offices
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician’s assistants
- Ambulance personnel
Will I get in trouble with the law?
No. If you take your baby to a Safe Haven within 30 days of it’s birth and there are no signs that the child has been physically hurt you will not get into trouble with the law. However, you must physically hand the baby to someone at a Safe Haven. Do not leave the baby outside a hospital or doctor’s office. Take the baby inside and give it to someone.
Can I remain anonymous?
Yes. You do not have to give your name or any other personal information if you don’t want to. You may be asked questions about your baby’s birth and health. It’s up to you whether or not you answer these questions.
What if I change my mind?
It’s important for your baby to have a family right away. If you change your mind and want your baby back, you don’t have long to let someone know. You begin by filing a claim for your baby with the Idaho Vital Statistics office. Once you submit a claim, the court can delay the termination of your parental rights for up to 60 days. You may be asked to take a DNA test to confirm you are the baby’s parent and you may be asked to show that you can provide a safe home for your baby.
What happens at a Safe Haven?
People at a Safe Haven will:
- Take your baby
- Make sure your baby receives necessary medical attention
- Contact law enforcement so your baby can be placed in protective care
- Contact the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to make sure the baby is placed with an adoptive family as soon as possible
The law allows a Safe Haven to take temporary physical custody of a child, without a court order, if the child is personally delivered to the safe haven provided that:
- The child is no more than 30 days of age
- The parent personally delivers the child to the safe haven
- The parent does not express intent to return for the child
Idaho Emergency Medical Services Safe Haven Page can be viewed HERE.
Idaho State Legislature - Idaho Statutes: Chapter 82: Idaho Safe Haven Act
You can search for Safe Haven contact information in the 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine online database.