Infant Safe Haven Laws - Connecticut

Date:

Infant's Age

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-58

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

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-58

The child may be relinquished by his or her parent or a lawful agent of the parent.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-57

Each hospital operating an emergency room shall designate all members of the emergency room nursing staff as employees authorized to take physical custody of an infant pursuant to § 17a-58. There shall be a designated employee on duty at each hospital emergency room during regular business hours. There shall be a designated place inside such hospital emergency room where physical custody may be taken.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 17a-58; 17a-59

The designated employee shall take physical custody of any infant age 30 days or younger if the parent or lawful agent of the parent voluntarily surrenders physical custody of the infant unless the parent or agent clearly expresses an intent to return for the infant.

If the mother of an infant wishes to voluntarily surrender physical custody of the infant while the mother is in the hospital to give birth to the infant, the mother shall notify any health-care provider who provides health-care services on behalf of the hospital. Upon receipt of such notice, the health-care provider shall notify the designated employee, who shall immediately take physical custody of the infant. No hospital employee or health-care provider shall disclose the name of the mother to the Department of Children and Families or any person or organization without the mother's permission.

The designated employee may request the parent or agent to provide the name of the parent or agent, information on the medical history of the infant and parents, and the infant's name and date of birth if the infant's birth has been registered in the State vital records system prior to the surrender of the infant. The parent or agent is not required to provide such name or information.

The designated employee may provide the parent or agent with a numbered identification bracelet to link the parent or agent to the infant. The bracelet shall be used for identification only and shall not be construed to authorize the person who possesses the bracelet to take custody of the infant on demand. The designated employee shall provide the parent or agent with a pamphlet describing the process of safe relinquishment.

No more than 24 hours after taking physical custody of the infant, the designated employee shall notify the department of such custody.

Immunity for the Provider

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 17a-60; 53-23

Information concerning a parent or agent or infant left with a designated employee shall be confidential, except that the provider shall furnish to the Commissioner of Children and Families all medical history information provided by the parent.

Leaving an infant with a safe haven provider is not a violation of the law of child abandonment.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 17a-59; 17a-60

The Commissioner of Children and Families shall assume the care and control of the infant immediately upon receipt of notice and shall take any action authorized under State law to achieve safety and permanency for the infant. Any infant in the care and control of the commissioner under the provisions of this section shall be considered to be in the custody of the department, including institution of legal proceedings for guardianship or termination of parental rights. In order to achieve safety and permanency for the infant, the department shall identify a prospective adoptive parent for the infant no later than 1 business day after receiving such notice from a designated employee, provided a prospective adoptive parent is available. The department shall provide notification of legal proceedings to any parent of an infant when the identity of the parent is known to the department.

If a person claiming to be a parent or agent of an infant left with a designated employee submits a request to the Commissioner of Children and Families for reunification with the infant, the commissioner may identify, contact, and investigate such person or agent to determine if such reunification is appropriate or if the parental rights of the parent should be terminated. If, no more than 30 days after the date of surrender of the infant, the commissioner receives a request for reunification with the infant from a person claiming to be a parent of the infant, the commissioner may require that such person and the infant submit to genetic tests to determine parentage.

Possession of a bracelet linking the parent or agent to an infant left with a designated employee, if parental rights have not been terminated, creates a presumption that the parent or person has standing to participate in a custody hearing for the infant and does not create a presumption of maternity, paternity, or custody.