A parent may hand over an infant, up to 72 hours old, to personnel at any fire station or hospital. The process is anonymous. So long as the baby is unharmed, the parent will not be prosecuted for child abuse or abandonment.
No, for safety of the child, the baby must be given to a person at one of these locations, face-to-face.
No. Nothing is required. However, information the parent is willing to share, such as the child’s health, race, date of birth, place of birth, or the medical history of the parents, could be very useful in caring for the child.
The hospital will provide any needed care. They will contact social services who will take custody of the baby and place it with a family who has been pre-approved for adoption. There is a legal process through which the parental rights are terminated. This takes several months. Then the adoption is made final.
As long as the baby is unharmed, and 72 hours old or younger, the authorities will not be called.
It is rare, it takes several months before the parents’ rights are legally terminated. Up until that time, either parent may contact social services in the county where the baby was turned over. When parenthood is established, and social services determines that the person can be a fit parent, the baby is returned.
All 50 states have the Safe Haven Law! Colorado enacted the Safe Haven Law in 2020.
The most common age for a mother who abandons her baby is 19, but range from 13 - 42 years of age. Generally, these mothers did not have a history of drug abuse or criminal behavior. The problem is not concentrated in any economic or racial category. It crosses all socio-economic groups. The mothers who committed these crimes did not know about their safe alternative under the Safe Haven law.
More than 100 newborn children are murdered or abandoned and left to die in the United States every year. Experts believe that for all the abandoned babies that are found, at least twice as many are not found. A person is 10 times more likely to be murdered in the first 24 hours of their life, than on any other day of their lives.