Mothers in crisis have a safe way to give their babies a loving family under Daniel’s Law. Daniel's Law is named for an infant boy who survived after being buried in a landfill soon after his birth. Nurses named him Daniel as he recovered at a hospital. Daniel’s Law was enacted to prevent these kinds of dangerous and often fatal abandonments.
Under the law, instead of abandoning a baby up to sixty days old in dangerous circumstances, mothers can surrender their unharmed newborn baby at a designated location. They can give their child a chance at a happy, healthy life with a loving family.
Daniel's Law is intended to save babies. It is not intended to hurt or punish anyone. It provides a safe option for mother and baby.
You should know:
- The law applies to infants up to 60 days old.
- If the baby has been harmed in some way, the immunity from prosecution may not apply.
- A person who abandons a newborn cannot be prosecuted for abandonment if he or she takes the unharmed baby to staff or an employee of a Safe Haven. Safe Havens are defined as a hospital or hospital outpatient facility, law enforcement agencies, fire stations, emergency medical services (EMS) stations, or a house of worship during the time the church or synagogue is staffed. The receiving “safe haven” should complete this form.
- DSS will have legal custody of the child and will place the child in a foster home.
- DSS will immediately pursue family court action to free the child for adoption.
- The hospital will provide medical care and contact DSS.
- The person leaving the child will be asked to provide medical information about the baby’s parents and, if possible, the name of the baby’s parents. This will help the medical personnel treat the baby for any health problems.
- The person leaving the child does not have to reveal his or her identity.
If you are pregnant and confused or frightened about what to do with your baby or know someone who is pregnant and in crisis – there are people who can help – the Department of Social Services, your local health department, and your local hospital.