Infant Safe Haven Laws - Guam

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Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, §§ 13502; 13503

A newborn infant may be relinquished. A newborn infant means a human child who is 30 days old or younger.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, §§ 13502; 13503

The mother of a newborn infant may relinquish custody of the newborn infant to an authorized safe haven by voluntarily surrendering the newborn infant to authorized safe haven personnel, provided that the following apply:

  • The infant is age 30 days or younger, as determined to a reasonable degree of medical certainty by authorized safe haven personnel.
  • The mother expresses no clear intention to return for the newborn infant.
  • The infant presents no evidence of child abuse that occurred at any time prior to the act of relinquishment.

The term 'mother' means the biological mother, a woman who has conceived rather than adopted or acquired custody of a newborn infant by other means.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, §§ 13502; 13503

Authorized safe haven personnel shall receive an infant properly relinquished under this article on behalf of an affiliated authorized safe haven.

'Authorized safe haven personnel' means either of the following:

  • Any licensed medical professional working in conjunction with an authorized safe haven
  • Any certified emergency medical services personnel working in their capacity as emergency medical services personnel

An 'authorized safe haven' includes a hospital, a free-standing birthing center, a fire station, or a community health center that employs authorized safe haven personnel.

A 'safe haven facilitator' means any agent or employee of the government of Guam that, in the course of their duties as an agent or employee of the government of Guam, assists a mother in relinquishing her newborn infant under this article, including employees of Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Guam Police Department.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, §§ 13505; 13507

An authorized safe haven shall assume emergency protective custody of the infant immediately upon surrender by the mother to safe haven personnel or upon transfer of physical custody to another haven that can provide necessary emergency medical services. The safe haven shall maintain custody until custody is assumed by CPS.

An authorized safe haven shall transfer physical custody of the relinquished newborn infant to CPS as early as possible considering the newborn infant's medical condition, as determined to a reasonable degree of medical certainty by a physician.

Upon receiving a relinquished newborn infant, authorized safe haven personnel shall do the following:

  • Perform a preliminary medical screening examination and provide necessary stabilizing treatment to the extent possible
  • Arrange for immediate transportation of the infant to the nearest hospital with an emergency department
  • Assign the infant a unique, confidential identification number
  • Provide, or make a good-faith effort to provide, to the mother copies of the following:
    • The infant's confidential identification number to facilitate reunification with the infant
    • A notice informing her that she has 48 hours to request return of the infant
    • A medical information questionnaire, which she may decline to accept
  • Notify CPS of acceptance of emergency protective custody of the infant as soon as possible but in no event later than 24 hours after accepting custody
  • Provide to CPS any medical information pertinent to the infant's health, not including any personally identifying information pertaining to the relinquishing mother

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, §§ 13502; 13508

Any attempt to relinquish a newborn infant under this article shall constitute implied consent for authorized safe haven personnel and any affiliated authorized safe haven to perform all necessary emergency medical services. The newborn infant shall be presumed eligible for coverage under Medicaid, subject to Federal regulations.

An authorized safe haven or any authorized safe haven personnel that accepts custody of a relinquished newborn infant under this article shall not be subject to civil, criminal, or administrative liability for accepting the newborn infant and caring for the newborn infant in a good-faith belief that the action is required or authorized by this article, including, but not limited to, instances in which the infant is older than 30 days or the individual surrendering the newborn infant is not the mother. Nothing in this article shall be construed as conferring immunity from liability for personal injury or wrongful death, including, but not limited to, injury resulting from malpractice.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, §§ 13502; 13504

Proper relinquishment under this article shall not, in and of itself, constitute abuse or neglect requiring reporting and investigation under the child abuse and neglect reporting act.

A mother who relinquishes her newborn infant under this article has the right to remain anonymous and shall not be required to provide any personally identifying information and has the right to leave the authorized safe haven at any time without being pursued, followed, or tracked in any way.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any personally identifying information that pertains to a mother who relinquishes a newborn infant under this article is confidential, exempt from disclosure under the Sunshine Reform Act of 1999, and shall not be disclosed by any authorized safe haven personnel or any safe haven facilitator for any purpose, whether obtained as a result of the medical information questionnaire or in any other manner.

The rights of anonymity and confidentiality are waived when the infant presents evidence of child abuse that occurred at any time prior to relinquishment, as determined to a reasonable degree of medical certainty by authorized safe haven personnel.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 19, §§ 13505; 13506

CPS shall assume temporary custody of the relinquished newborn infant immediately upon receipt of notice and shall take any action authorized under law to achieve safety and permanency for the infant.

No court shall enter an order pertaining to custody of the relinquished infant, and CPS shall not relinquish temporary protective custody or place the infant into foster custody, until the following occur:

  • Forty-eight hours have elapsed from the time of relinquishment by the mother.
  • CPS has reported all known identifying information concerning the infant, except personally identifying information about the mother, to the Guam Police Department for a determination that the infant, based on all available information, has not been reported as a missing person.

Relinquishment of a newborn infant creates a rebuttable presumption effective 48 hours after the time of relinquishment that the mother who relinquishes an infant intends to permanently relinquish custody of the infant and consents to termination of parental rights.

A mother who has voluntarily relinquished her newborn infant shall have the child returned upon making a request for reunification to CPS no later than 48 hours after relinquishment, provided that CPS discovers no evidence of child abuse that occurred prior to relinquishment.

If notice is not provided to CPS prior to a request for reunification, CPS shall determine the safe haven location of the infant based upon information provided by the mother and facilitate reunification, if appropriate.

Relinquishment of a newborn infant under this article does not, in and of itself, constitute child abuse and is not, in and of itself, a sufficient basis to deny reunification.