Infant Safe Haven Laws - Florida

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Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 383.50

A newborn infant may be relinquished. The term 'newborn infant' means a child that a licensed physician reasonably believes to be approximately 7 days old or younger.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 383.50

The infant may be relinquished by his or her parent.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 383.50

The child may be left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 383.50

Each emergency medical services station or fire station staffed with full-time firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics shall accept any newborn infant left with a firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic. They shall consider these actions as implied consent to and shall take the following actions:

  • Provide emergency medical services to the newborn infant to the extent he or she is trained to provide those services
  • Arrange for the immediate transportation of the newborn infant to the nearest hospital having emergency services

Each hospital shall admit and provide all necessary emergency services and care to any newborn infant left with the hospital in accordance with this section. The hospital or any of its licensed health-care professionals shall consider these actions as implied consent for treatment, and a hospital accepting physical custody of a newborn infant has implied consent to perform all necessary emergency services and care.

Upon admitting a newborn infant, the hospital shall immediately contact a local licensed child-placing agency or alternatively contact the statewide central abuse hotline for the name of a licensed child-placing agency for purposes of transferring physical custody of the newborn infant. The hospital shall notify the licensed child-placing agency that a newborn infant has been left with the hospital and approximately when the licensed child-placing agency can take physical custody of the child. In cases where there is actual or suspected child abuse or neglect, the hospital or any of its licensed health-care professionals shall report the actual or suspected child abuse or neglect in accordance with statute in lieu of contacting a licensed child-placing agency.

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 383.50

A medical services provider, a fire department, or an employee or agent of a medical services provider or fire department is immune from criminal or civil liability for acting in good faith pursuant to this section. Nothing in this subsection limits liability for negligence.

The hospital or any of its licensed health-care professionals is immune from criminal or civil liability for acting in good faith in accordance with this section. Nothing in this subsection limits liability for negligence.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 383.50

A newborn infant left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station in accordance with this section shall not be deemed abandoned and is not subject to reporting and investigation requirements, unless there is actual or suspected child abuse or until the Department of Children and Family Services takes physical custody of the child.

A criminal investigation shall not be initiated solely because a newborn infant is left at a hospital under this section unless there is actual or suspected child abuse or neglect.

Except where there is actual or suspected child abuse or neglect, any parent who leaves a newborn infant with a firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic at a fire station or emergency medical services station, or brings a newborn infant to an emergency room of a hospital and expresses an intent to leave the newborn infant and not return, has the absolute right to remain anonymous and to leave at any time and may not be pursued or followed unless the parent seeks to reclaim the newborn infant.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 383.50

There is a presumption that the parent who leaves the newborn infant in accordance with this section intended to leave the newborn infant and consented to termination of parental rights.

A parent of a newborn infant left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station may claim his or her newborn infant up until the time the court enters a judgment terminating his or her parental rights. A claim to the newborn infant must be made to the entity that has physical or legal custody of the newborn infant or to the circuit court before which proceedings involving the newborn infant are pending.