Utah's Safe Haven Law, adopted in 2001, is designed to prevent exactly the sort of tragedy that occurred in April. The law states that newborns can be relinquished to hospitals and fire-stations with no questions asked and without repercussions for the parents.
"The Safe Haven Law is a law to protect not only newborn babies, but also the parents of newborn babies. It allows parents of a newborn to be able to drop off at a safe location. If they choose to drop the child off at the hospital the police will not be called, the parents remain anonymous, and it will not be reported," explained Park City High School intervention counselor Samantha Walsh.
Under the law, custody of infants that are dropped off is turned over to the State Division of Child and Family Services which promptly places them for adoption.
Park City Medical Clinic is a Safe Haven for babies in Summit County. According to spokeswomen Amy Roberts, the clinic has never received a Safe Haven baby but the option exists.
Park City also has resources for struggling mothers that choose to retain custody of their infants.
Says Walsh, "Specifically in Park City we have a really tremendous resource called the Gabriel Project.
The People's Health Clinic offers women's health services and prenatal care to those without health insurance.
Utah Newborn Safe Haven FAQs
1. If I want to leave my newborn, safely and anonymously, where can I go? The baby should be dropped off at a hospital that is open 24 hours a day. To receive the best care available, the infant should be left with a hospital worker. A hospital worker will be wearing the proper hospital identification or name badge. Tell the hospital worker that you want to give up your newborn under Utah's Safe Haven law.
2. Do I have to take my newborn to the closest hospital? No, you can take your newborn to any hospital in Utah that is open 24/7.
3. How long can I wait before I take my newborn to the hospital? You need to take your newborn to the hospital as soon as possible in order to ensure that your newborn receives proper care.
4. Do I have to take my newborn to the hospital or can I ask someone else? You can take your newborn or you can ask someone to do it for you. The law says, "that a person acting with the mother's permission" can bring a newborn to the hospital.
5. What will the people at the hospital ask me? Do I have to leave my name? You do not have to tell the people at the hospital your name or anything else. Health information may be helpful for your baby so the adoptive parents are aware of any possible conditions the baby may have or may inherit. If you wish to provide any health information about the infant please fill out the Optional Medical Questionnaire form.
6. Is it true the police will not be called? The police will not be called if you bring your infant to the hospital.
7. What happens to my newborn after I leave the hospital? The hospital will take care of any medical care your newborn requires. The Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) will place your child for adoption into a safe, loving home. There are many great families waiting to adopt children.
Utah Safe Haven 1-866-458-0058 firstname.lastname@example.org http://utahsafehaven.org
Park City Medical Center, 900 Round Valley Drive, Park City, 435-658-7000 Heber Valley Medical Center, 1485 South Highway 40, Heber City, 435-654-2500
The Gabriel Project