Safe Haven for Newborns Act
Connecticut’s Safe Havens for Newborns Act allows a parent to voluntarily give up custody of an infant, age 30 days or younger, to the nursing staff of a Connecticut hospital emergency room without being subject to arrest for abandonment. (However, this act does not protect the parent from being arrested and prosecuted if abuse or neglect has occurred.)
- When the parent takes the baby to the emergency room at a Connecticut hospital, a nurse will meet with the parent in a private area and ask the parent to provide information about the child’s medical history.
- The nurse will also ask the parent’s name and address, but the parent does not have to provide this information.
- Within 24 hours the Department of Children and Families will take custody of the infant and begin to develop a plan for permanent care.
- DCF is required by law to notify both parents of its intent to keep custody of the infant and to seek termination of parental rights.
- If the parent has provided his/her name and address, a court officer will notify the parents of the court action and the first hearing date.
- If the parent did not give her name/address at the hospital, DCF may publish a notice in the local newspaper.
- The court will schedule a hearing within 30 days of DCF’s application.
- If the parent changes his/her mind and wants to regain custody of the child, the parent should make a request to DCF as soon as possible for reunification. The parent should also apply to the court for an attorney because the court can terminate parental rights at the first hearing.
For more detailed information, visit the DCF website, https://portal.ct.gov/DCF/1-DCF/SAFE-Havens-Act-for-Newborns
TO FIND PROVIDERS IN CONNECTICUT’S COMMUNITY RESOURCES DATABASE:
Search by service name: Safe Havens for Abandoned Newborns
SOURCE: Connecticut Department of Children and Families
PREPARED BY: 211/mm
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: March2021