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Information to Nevada Emergency Service Providers 1-877-885-HOPE

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1 Information to Nevada Emergency Service Providers 1-877-885-HOPE

2 What does the Safe Haven Law provide? It provides that a parent can legally abandon a baby who is or appears to be no more than 30 days old and does not appear to have been physically abused or neglected. The parent will not face criminal prosecution if they leave their baby at a designated “Safe Haven.” What is the purpose of this law? The hope is that there will be a decrease in the number of babies who are abandoned in unsafe places (dumpsters, toilets, etc.) What is the demographic of the person who might take advantage of this law? Nationally speaking, middle class honor roll high school and college students are considered the most at risk for abandoning a baby. In Nevada, our history of “baby dumping” runs the gamut from teens to married adult women. Currently unofficial statistics offered by the Newborn Lifeline Crisis Call Center (which offers information on baby abandonment laws in each state) suggest no norm, with calls ranging from teenagers to women in their 40’s.

3 When was the Safe Haven law passed? The Nevada State Legislature passed it in the 2001 Session in response to the increase in abandonment cases in Clark County. The Junior League of Las Vegas was instrumental in writing and obtaining sponsors for the bill. The Junior League of Reno was a main sponsor. Governor Guinn signed the bill into law on May 31, 2001. During the 5 months that it took to get this piece of legislation passed, 2 babies in Clark County were found abandoned in dumpsters – both died. Is baby abandonment a serious issue in Nevada? Keeping in mind that only those abandoned babies which are found are the ones which are documented, Nevada does have a history of baby abandonment. Clark County has a long history of baby abandonment issues. Rural counties and Tahoe counties have also documented cases in recent history. Prior to May 7, 2002, Washoe County did not have recent documented evidence of baby abandonment. Since the law was passed, there have been 2 official babies safely abandoned (and subsequently placed in adoptive homes) under the Safe Haven law. Several others were anonymously abandoned under the premise of the law; however these cases can not be officially labeled as Safe Haven saves, due to the fact that these babies were found positive for drug exposure. Such action constitutes ‘abuse and neglect,’ making the abandonment ineligible for official Safe Haven status. It is important to note that no legal action was taken against any mothers, nor were any denied anonymity.

4 What is a “Safe Haven”? A “Safe Haven” is an Emergency Service Provider (ESP), including: law enforcement agencies public fire-fighting agencies hospitals obstetric centers independent licensed centers for emergency medical care Although not stated in the law, the EMS services in Washoe and Clark Counties have agreed that if there is no medical emergency, a parent can call 911 to have the baby picked up from a specified location, and a unit will be dispatched without the use of lights and sirens. A copy of the law can be found on-line at (

5 What are the criteria for a parent who needs to leave a baby at a Safe Haven? (1) The child is voluntarily delivered to the Safe Haven by the parent, either - In the physical possession of a person whom the parent believes to be an employee of the Safe Haven - On the property of the Safe Haven in a manner and location that the parent has reasonable cause to believe will not threaten the physical health or safety of the child, and immediately contact the provider, either through 911 or otherwise and provide information of the delivery and the location of the child. - Or by calling 911 to have the baby picked up by an ambulance, which will not use its lights and sirens (This provision is not specifically stated in the law.) (2) The child is 30 days old or less and has not been physically abused or neglected. (3) The parent does not express intent to return for the child.

6 (4) The parent will not be required to disclose any identifying information, but may voluntarily do so. (5) The parent will not be required to provide any medical information regarding the child, but may voluntarily do so. (6) The parent will be allowed to leave at any time. (7) The parent will not be pursued or followed. If no identifying information is left with the child, a summons will be served on the parent by publication at least once a week for 3 consecutive weeks in a newspaper published in the county or in a newspaper published in the State that has a general circulation in the county. The failure of the parent to appear in response to the summons shall be deemed to constitute a waiver by the parent of any further notice of the proceedings that would otherwise be required. The local agency which provides welfare services will take protective custody of the child, place the child in a foster home, and initiate court actions which will lead to a permanent home for the child. What are the criteria for a parent who needs to leave a baby at a Safe Haven - Continued

7 Overview of Problem in the US ***List of Status of other States' Safe Haven Laws and website references*** Organization in Illinois responsible for passage of their Safe haven law: Illinois State DCFS website with Safe Haven Information Minnesota Safe Place Website National Crisis Call Line for Safe Haven Information in Each State Resource Information from Other States

8 Materials Currently we have the artwork designed for the items listed below. Distribution ideas for your area: Casinos, movie theatres, service providers, mall, grocery stores, homeless shelters, not-for-profit organizations, doctors’ offices, counselors’ offices, clinics, welfare offices, paycheck inserts. Brochure Information Wallet Card Poster Billboard Bumper Sticker Designated “Safe Haven” signs City Bus “Super Queen” Poster.

9 All Safe Havens should establish protocol for any personnel who might come into contact with not only an abandoned baby but also an abandoning parent. All Emergency Service Providers need to be trained on this protocol, their responsibilities under the law, and procedures on how to interact with a mother who potentially has just delivered a baby on her own. Suggested SOPs have been created for fire departments, hospitals, and EMS. The Junior League of Nevada is working with representatives of child welfare agencies in Clark and Washoe Counties, as well as the Division of Child and Family Services to format Family Medical History questionnaires and create resource contact information for the parent. The Junior League of Nevada, in conjunction with the State Health Dept, is in the process of producing a training video which can be distributed to all agencies throughout the state. Long term goals include having this training video and all materials be accessible via the Nevada State website. The Junior League of Reno is in the process of soliciting donations for a “Baby Abandonment Kit” to distribute to police and fire stations in the state of Nevada. This Kit will include such items as diapers, infant clothes, blankets, pacifiers, and an umbilical cord clamp. Similar kits have been distributed to fire stations in Clark County. Educating the Safe Havens

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