Infant Safe Haven Laws - Arkansas

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Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-34-202

A child who is 30 days old or younger may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-34-202; 5-27-205(c)

A child may be relinquished by his or her parent or a person designated by the parent.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-34-202

Any medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department shall take possession of a child who is 30 days old or younger without a court order if the parent of the child, without expressing an intent to return for the child, does either of the following:

  • Leaves the child with or voluntarily delivers the child to the medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department
  • Leaves the child in a newborn safety device that meets the following criteria:
    • Is voluntarily installed by the medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department
    • Is physically located inside a hospital, law enforcement agency, or fire department that is staffed 24 hours a day by a medical services provider
    • Is located in an area that is conspicuous and visible to the employees of the hospital, law enforcement agency, or fire department

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-34-202; 9-34-203

A medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department that takes possession of a child shall perform any act necessary to protect the physical health and safety of the child.

Upon delivery of the child to a medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department, the law enforcement officer, an appropriate employee of the fire department, or an appropriate employee of the hospital shall take the child into protective custody for 72 hours and immediately notify the Division of Children and Family Services of the Department of Human Services.

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-34-202

A medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department shall not be criminally or civilly liable for any good-faith acts or omissions performed under this section

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 5-27-205(c); 9-34-202(b)(2)

The fact that a parent voluntarily delivered a child to and left the child with, or voluntarily arranged for another person to deliver a child to and leave the child with, a medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department serves as an affirmative defense to a prosecution for endangering the child.

This section specifically does not constitute a defense to any prosecution arising from an act of abuse or neglect committed before the delivery of a child to a medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department.

A medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department shall keep the identity of a parent who relinquishes a child under this section confidential and shall not release or otherwise make the identity of the parent available except to either of the following:

  • A law enforcement agency investigating abuse or neglect of the child that was committed before the child was delivered to the medical provider or law enforcement agency
  • A prosecuting attorney pursuing charges against a parent for abuse or neglect of the child that was committed before the child was delivered to the medical provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-34-203; 9-34-204

The law enforcement officer, employee of the fire department, or employee of the hospital shall immediately notify the division, which shall initiate a dependency-neglect petition under § 9-27-301, et seq.

The division shall utilize the Missing Persons Information Clearinghouse and any other national and State resources to determine whether the child is a missing child.