Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hawaii's Infant Safe Haven Law - A Summary

Did you know that Hawaii has an infant safe haven law? Here's a summary:

Infant's Age
Rev. Stat. § 587D-2
A child who is no more than 72 hours old may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant
Rev. Stat. § 587D-2
A person may leave the child with a safe haven provider.

Who May Receive the Infant
Rev. Stat. § 587D-2
The child may be left with the personnel of a hospital, fire station, police station, or emergency services provider.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider
Rev. Stat. §§ 587D-3; 587D-4
When a person leaves a newborn child with a safe haven provider, the provider shall make every reasonable effort to solicit the following information:
  • The child's name
  • The name and address of the parent or person dropping off the child
  • Where the child was born
  • The child's medical history
  • The child's birth family's medical history, including major illnesses and diseases
  • Any other information that might reasonably assist the Department of Human Services in determining the best interests of the child, including whether the parents plan to seek custody of the child in the future
The provider:
  • May provide the person leaving the newborn child with information on how to contact relevant social service agencies
  • Shall notify appropriate law enforcement agencies that a child was received for purposes of matching the child with missing children reports
  • Refusal of the person leaving the child to provide personal information shall not prevent personnel from accepting the child.
If a safe haven provider receives a child, the provider shall perform any act necessary, in accordance with generally accepted standards of their respective professional practice, to protect, preserve, and aid the physical health and safety of the child during the temporary physical custody.

Within 24 hours of receiving an unharmed newborn child, the provider shall inform the department that a child has been left at the premises. The department shall not be informed until the person leaving the child has left the premises. If the child is received in a harmed condition, the provider shall notify appropriate law enforcement agencies, regardless of whether the person or persons leaving the child has left the premises.

Immunity for the Provider
Rev. Stat. § 587D-5
A hospital, health-care provider, or hospital personnel, fire station, firefighter, fire personnel, police station, police officer, police personnel, and emergency services personnel acting in good faith in receiving a newborn child shall be immune from:
  • Any criminal liability that otherwise might result from their actions
  • Any civil liability that otherwise might result from merely receiving a newborn child
  • A hospital, health-care provider, hospital personnel, a fire station, firefighter, fire personnel, police station, police officer, police personnel, and emergency services personnel who are mandated reporters under § 350-1.1 shall be immune from any criminal or civil liability that otherwise might result from the failure to make a report if the person is acting in good faith in complying with this chapter.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent
Rev. Stat. § 587D-2
A person may leave a newborn child at a safe haven without being subject to prosecution for abandonment of a child pursuant to § 709-902, provided that the newborn child is left in an unharmed condition.

Effect on Parental Rights
Rev. Stat. §§ 587D-6; 587D-7
Upon receiving custody of a newborn child who has been discharged from a hospital that received the newborn child pursuant to § 587D-3, the Department of Human Services may reunite the newborn child with the newborn's parents.

The department may search for relatives of the newborn child as a placement or permanency option or implement other placement requirements that give a preference to relatives, provided that the department has information as to the identity of the newborn child, the newborn child's mother, or the newborn child's father.

For purposes of proceedings under this chapter and adoption proceedings, a newborn child left at a hospital, fire station, police station, or emergency services provider shall be considered an abandoned child.

Related links:
Learn more about child welfare topics here
Learn about HOPE INC adoption agency here

No comments: