Infant Safe Haven Laws - Iowa

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Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 233.1

A newborn infant may be relinquished. The term 'newborn infant' means a child who is, or who appears to be, 30 days old or younger.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 233.2; 233.2

The child be may relinquished to an institutional health facility. If physical custody of the newborn infant is not relinquished directly to an individual on duty at the institutional health facility, the parent may take other actions to be reasonably sure that an individual on duty is aware that the newborn infant has been left at the institutional health facility.

In lieu of the procedure described in the paragraph above, a parent of a newborn infant may make telephone contact with a 911 service and relinquish physical custody of the newborn infant, without expressing an intent to again assume physical custody, to a first responder who responds to the 911 telephone call.

The term 'institutional health facility' means a hospital, including a facility providing medical or health services that is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and is a hospital emergency room or a health-care facility. A 'first responder' is an emergency medical care provider, a registered nurse staffing an authorized service program, a physician assistant staffing an authorized service program, a fire fighter, or a peace officer.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 233.1

The child may be relinquished to an institutional health facility. The term 'institutional health facility' means a hospital, including a facility providing medical or health services that is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and is a hospital emergency room or a health-care facility.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 233.2

Unless the parent or other person relinquishing physical custody of a newborn infant clearly expresses an intent to return to again assume physical custody of the newborn infant, an individual on duty at the facility at which physical custody of the newborn infant was relinquished or a first responder to whom physical custody of the newborn infant was relinquished shall take physical custody of the newborn infant.

The individual on duty or first responder may request the parent or other person to provide the name of the parent or parents and information on the medical history of the newborn infant and the newborn infant's parent or parents. The individual on duty or first responder may perform reasonable acts necessary to protect the physical health or safety of the newborn infant.

If the physical custody of a newborn infant is relinquished to a first responder, the first responder shall transport the newborn infant to the nearest institutional health facility. The first responder shall provide any parental identification or medical history information to the institutional health facility.

As soon as possible after the individual or first responder on duty assumes physical custody of a newborn infant, the individual shall notify the Department of Human Services, and the department shall take the actions necessary to assume the care, control, and custody of the newborn infant. Within 24 hours of taking custody of the newborn infant, the department shall notify the juvenile court and the county attorney in writing of the department's action and the circumstances surrounding the action.

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 233.2

The individual on duty and the institutional health facility in which the individual was on duty and the first responder are immune from criminal or civil liability for any acts or omissions made in good faith to comply with this section.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 233.2; 233.3; 233.5

The parent or other person is not required to provide his or her name or medical history information.

Any person authorized by the parent to assist with release of custody by relinquishing physical custody of the newborn infant or to otherwise act on the parent's behalf is immune from criminal prosecution for abandonment or neglect of the newborn infant and civil liability for any reasonable acts or omissions made in good faith in assisting with the release.

In addition to any other privacy protection established in law, a record that is developed, acquired, or held in connection with an individual's good-faith effort to voluntarily release a newborn infant in accordance with this chapter and any identifying information concerning the individual shall be kept confidential. Such record shall not be inspected or the contents disclosed except as provided in this section. Any transcripts or recording of a 911 service telephone call that is made for the purpose of an individual's good-faith effort to voluntarily release custody of a newborn infant in accordance with this chapter and any identifying information concerning the individual shall be kept confidential.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 233.2; 233.4

Upon being notified in writing by the department, the county attorney shall file a petition alleging the newborn infant to be a child in need of assistance and a petition for termination of parental rights. A hearing on a child in need of assistance petition shall be held at the earliest practicable time. A hearing on a termination of parental rights petition shall be held no later than 30 days after the day the physical custody of the newborn child was relinquished.

Notice of a petition shall be provided to any known parent and shall be served upon any putative father registered with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.

Reasonable efforts, as defined in § 232.102, that are made in regard to the newborn infant shall be limited to the efforts made in a timely manner to finalize a permanency plan for the newborn infant.

Either parent of a relinquished newborn infant may intervene in the child in need of assistance or termination of parental rights proceedings held regarding the newborn infant and request that the juvenile court grant custody of the newborn infant to the parent. The requester must show by clear and convincing evidence that the requester is the parent of the newborn infant. If the court determines that the requester is the parent of the newborn infant and that granting custody of the newborn infant to the parent is in the newborn infant's best interest, the court shall issue an order granting custody of the newborn infant to the parent. In addition to such order, the court may order services for the newborn infant and the parent as are in the best interests of the newborn infant.