Infant Safe Haven Laws - Indiana

Date:

Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-34-2.5-1

The relinquished child may not be more than 30 days old.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-34-2.5-1

The child may be relinquished by his or her parent or any person designated by the parent.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-34-2.5-1

The child may be voluntarily left with any of the following:

  • With an emergency medical services provider by the child's parent
  • In a newborn safety device that meets the following criteria:
    • Has been approved by a hospital, is physically located inside a hospital that is staffed continuously on a 24-hour basis every day to provide emergency care, and is located in an area that is conspicuous and visible to hospital staff
    • Is located at a site that is staffed by an emergency medical services provider
    • Is located at a facility or emergency medical services station that is staffed by an emergency medical services provider on a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week basis; is located in an area that is conspicuous and visible to staff; and includes an adequate dual alarm system
    • Is located at a fire department, including a volunteer fire department, that is located within 1 mile of a hospital, police station, or emergency medical services station that is staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days a week and is equipped with an alert system that connects to the 911 system and is equipped with a video surveillance system that allows members of a fire department to monitor the inside of the device 24 hours a day
  • With medical staff after delivery in a hospital or other medical facility when the child's parent notifies the medical staff that the parent is voluntarily relinquishing the child

Due to extenuating circumstances, if a child's parent or a person is unable to give up custody of the child as described above, the child's parent or the person may request that an emergency medical services provider take custody of the child by dialing the 911 emergency call number and staying with the child until an emergency medical services provider arrives to take custody of the child.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-34-2.5-1; 31-34-2.5-2

An emergency medical services provider shall, without a court order, take custody of a child who is, or who appears to be, no more than 30 days old if the parent does not express an intent to return for the child.

An emergency medical services provider who takes custody of a child under this section shall perform any act necessary to protect the child's physical health or safety.

Immediately after an emergency medical services provider takes custody of a child, the provider shall notify the Department of Child Services that the provider has taken custody of the child. The department shall contact the Indiana Clearinghouse for Information on Missing Children and Missing Endangered Adults to determine if the child has been reported missing no later than 48 hours after it has taken custody of the child.

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-34-2.5-1(d), (f)

A hospital that approves the operation of a newborn safety device that meets the requirements set forth in section are immune from civil liability for an act or omission relating to the operation of the newborn safety device unless the act or omission constitutes gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.

A facility that meets the requirements set forth in this section or a fire department, including a volunteer fire department, and an emergency medical services station that meets the requirements set forth in this section is immune from civil liability for an act or omission relating to the operation of the newborn safety device unless the act or omission constitutes gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-34-2.5-1; 35-46-1-4

A person who voluntarily leaves a child with an emergency services provider, in a newborn safety device, or with medical staff is not required to disclose his or her name or the parent's name. The emergency medical dispatch agency or the emergency medical services provider shall inform the child's parent or the person described in this section of the ability to remain anonymous.

If the accused person left a dependent child, who was not more than 30 days old at the time the alleged act occurred, with an emergency medical provider who took custody of the child, it is a defense to a prosecution for abandonment or neglect of a dependent when the following apply:

  • The prosecution is based solely on the alleged act of leaving the child with the emergency medical services provider.
  • The alleged act did not result in bodily injury or serious bodily injury to the child.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-34-2.5-2; 31-34-2.5-3

The Department of Child Services shall assume the care, control, and custody of the child immediately after receiving notice from the emergency services provider.

A child for whom the Department of Child Services assumes care, control, and custody shall be treated as a child taken into custody without a court order, except that efforts to locate the child's parents or reunify the child's family are not necessary if, after receiving a written report and recommendation from the guardian ad litem or court-appointed special advocate, the court finds that reasonable efforts to locate the child's parents or reunify the child's family would not be in the best interests of the child.