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The Safe Haven Law Illinois’ Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act 1.

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Presentation on theme: "The Safe Haven Law Illinois’ Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Safe Haven Law Illinois’ Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act 1

2 No Shame, No Blame, No Names You're afraid. You don't want to keep this baby. You just want someone to take it, keep it safe, and make sure it gets a good home. Don't panic. There are people who will help you with NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Give your baby a chance! 24 hour/day hotline:

3 Overview In 2001 Illinois passed the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act, known as a Safe Haven law. This law provides a safe and legal alternative to unsafe infant abandonment. An unharmed baby up to 30 days old may be relinquished to personnel at any Illinois Safe Haven - All hospitals, police stations, staffed fire stations, sheriff offices, and emergency medical care facilities are designated Safe Havens. 3

4 By handing your unharmed newborn to personnel at any Safe Haven, you can walk away with no questions asked. The baby will be cared for and placed in a loving home for adoption. You will be offered an information packet with a medical history form you can submit later, and information on your rights. 4

5 5 This law provides an alternative to abandonment for parents who feel they cannot cope with a newborn baby. It offers a Safe Haven for newborns, and is: Private: No one will ask your name. Legal: You will not be breaking any laws. Safe: Your baby will be given medical care and placed in a good home.

6 Adoption Every child deserves a safe, loving, permanent home. You can make plans to have your baby adopted even before giving birth. For more information on adoption: Call the Illinois Adoption Registry (a free call in Illinois) 6

7 7 What happens at a Safe Haven? Once the unharmed baby is handed to personnel at a Safe Haven, the parent is free to leave. No names need to be given, no questions asked. The newborn will be taken to the nearest hospital and will receive an exam, any needed medical care, and be adopted by a loving family.

8 What happens after I leave? DCFS will check a missing children registry, the Illinois Putative Fathers’ Registry, and then contact an adoption agency. Safely relinquished newborns rarely go into the foster care system; they are usually placed within hours with a loving family waiting to adopt. 8

9 What about the baby's medical history? A packet is offered to the parent and may be filled out immediately or mailed in later. Providing this information is voluntary, but helpful to the infant and the adoptive family. Information may be given about the infant anonymously at any time. 9

10 Medical History (continued) The packet also contains information on how to receive counseling (if desired) as well as information about the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange. It includes a contact number to call if a parent changes their mind about relinquishing the infant.

11 Who will help me? Safe Havens may offer medical care and counseling services. Hospital staff members are trained to help make sure you understand your rights and options. If you do not want these services, you may simply walk away. If you want to talk to someone now, you can call the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation ( ) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We are here to help. 11

12 What about the father's rights? The Putative Fathers' Registry will be searched to identify a putative father after a newborn infant has been relinquished. Notice will be given to any potential putative father discovered in a search of the registry. 12

13 Yes. The Act allows the parent 60 days to reclaim their infant, subject to counseling and an inquiry by DCFS. A relinquishing parent may petition the court within the first 60 days in an effort to regain parental rights. After 60 days, a petition to terminate parental rights is filed. 13 Can I change my mind? Can I change my mind?

14 What if the newborn is over 30 days old or there is evidence of abuse? What if the newborn is over 30 days old or there is evidence of abuse? The infant and parent(s) do not qualify for this Act, and all existing laws and procedures remain in effect. The parent(s) could be investigated and charged with any applicable statutory violations. 14

15 Why did Illinois pass this Act? Why did Illinois pass this Act? It reduces the risk that a newborn will be abandoned in a dangerous environment that may result in injury or death, and it protects parents who relinquish their unharmed newborn to a Safe Haven from prosecution. 15

16 How often does this happen? How often does this happen? According to DCFS, 32 to 34 infants were found abandoned each year from Of these, approximately 20 infants were abandoned in the first 24 hours of life. According to a CNN review of FBI statistics, nearly five infants under the age of one are killed in the U.S. each week. 16

17 Does this law encourage abandonment? Does this law encourage abandonment? No. The mother is encouraged to talk to someone even before the baby is born and is encouraged to either keep the baby or to go through normal channels of the adoption process. She also is encouraged to seek prenatal care. 17

18 How will people know about this law? How will people know about this law? This Act requires DCFS to do public awareness campaigns throughout Illinois. The Save Abandoned Babies Foundation helps promote awareness of this life-saving alternative to unsafe infant abandonment. 18

19 YOU can help too! 19 Create an awareness campaign for your school Share this information with family and friends Create a YouTube video clip Write an editorial for your local newspaper, church bulletin, or school newspaper

20 Timeline 2001 The Safe Haven Act signed into law 8/17/2001 From February through the end of the year, three newborns were abandoned unsafely; of those, one died. 20

21 2002 The focus turned to raising public awareness and the Act began to show results. Eight babies were illegally abandoned, four died. Two babies were safely and legally relinquished under the Act. 21

22 2003 The Governor proclaimed April 4 as Save Abandoned Babies Day. Seven babies were illegally abandoned; five died. Three babies were safely and legally relinquished. 22

23 2004 The law was amended, adding police stations as a designated Safe Haven location. 11 babies were illegally abandoned, five of them, dead. Six babies were safely and legally relinquished. 23

24 2005 Legislators removed the Sunset Clause, making the Safe Haven Act a permanent law in Illinois. 12 babies were illegally abandoned; five died. Nine babies were safely and legally relinquished. 24

25 2006 Illinois School Code amended to require the Safe Haven Act be included in all school comprehensive health education classes. Four babies illegally abandoned, two of those babies found dead, and eight legally relinquished. 25

26 A Teacher's Kit was produced by the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation (download free at to help teachers incorporate this life-saving information into their curriculum.www.SaveAbandonedBabies.org The Kit covers the basics of the law, provides suggested curriculum, offers interdisciplinary teaching extensions, wallet cards for students, and helpful resource listings. 26

27 2007 Legislation signed on August 17th mandates a uniform Safe Haven sign to be displayed at all designated Safe Havens state wide. Ten safe and legal relinquishments, four unsafe abandonments with one dead. 27

28 2008 Alaska and Nebraska sign Safe Haven laws. Every state now has a law! Ten safe and legal relinquishments, five unsafe abandonments with 3 not surviving.

29 2009 On August 12, 2009, Governor Quinn signed HB3925 into law. This extends the time a parent has to relinquish their unharmed newborn from 7 days to a full 30 days.

30 Newly-mandated, uniform signs must now be displayed by all Illinois Safe Havens.

31 Resources In partnership with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation offers the following resources: Posters, brochures, information cards An informational website: Teacher’s Kit 31

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34 34 Posters and brochures are available at no cost through the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation or DCFS

35 35 Double-sided cards are available at no cost through the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation or DCFS

36 Posters, cards, and brochures are available at no cost through the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation and DCFS These posters were designed to bring attention to the newly mandated Safe Haven signs.

37 About Us The Save Abandoned Babies Foundation is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the Illinois Safe Haven law. More information is available by visiting our website at 37

38 For more information on the Illinois Safe Haven law, or to order print materials, please visit or All inquiries are confidential. 38


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