Infant Safe Haven Laws - Maine

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Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4018

A child who is younger than 31 days old may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4018

The child may be delivered to a safe haven provider by any person.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4018

Effective October 18, 2021: The child may be delivered to a safe haven provider. The term 'safe haven provider' includes any of the following:

  • A law enforcement officer
  • Staff at a medical emergency room
  • A medical services provider, including, but not limited to, a:
    • Physician
    • Nurse
    • Podiatrist
    • Optometrist
    • Chiropractor
    • Physical therapist
    • Dentist
    • Psychologist
    • Physician's assistant
    • Emergency medical services person
  • A hospital staff member
  • A firefighter
  • A person staffing a facility with a safe haven baby box

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4018

Effective October 18, 2021: A person who voluntarily delivers a child less than 31 days of age to a safe haven provider and who does not express an intent to return for the child may be requested to provide information helpful to the welfare of the child. The person who accepts a child may not detain the person delivering the child to obtain information.

A safe haven provider who accepts a child shall promptly notify the Department of Health and Human Services of the delivery of the child, transfer the child to the department at the earliest opportunity, and provide to the department all information provided by the person delivering the child to the safe haven provider. The department shall establish guidelines to assist safe haven providers concerning procedures when a child is delivered to a safe haven provider.

A 'safe haven baby box' means a device or container to safely accept delivery of a child less than 31 days old that meets the following requirements:

  • Is voluntarily installed by a medical services provider, law enforcement agency, or fire department
  • Is physically located inside a hospital, law enforcement facility, or fire department facility that is staffed 24 hours a day by a medical services provider
  • Is located in an area that is conspicuous and visible to the employees of the hospital, law enforcement agency, or fire department
  • Is in compliance with requirements adopted by rule by the department, including, but not limited to, a requirement that the device or container be equipped with an alarm that notifies the hospital, law enforcement agency, or fire department when a child is placed in the device or container

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4018

A person or entity who accepts a child or provides temporary custody of a child is not subject to civil, criminal, or administrative liability for accepting the child or providing temporary custody of the child in the good-faith belief that the action is required or authorized by this section. This subsection does not affect liability for personal injury or wrongful death, including, but not limited to, injury resulting from medical malpractice.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 17-A, § 553(3); Title 22, § 4018

It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for child abandonment that, at the time the offense occurred, the following was true:

  • The child was younger than 31 days old.
  • The child was delivered by the person charged under this section to a safe haven baby box or to an individual the person reasonably believed to be one of the following:
    • A law enforcement officer
    • Staff at a medical emergency room
    • A medical services provider
    • A hospital staff member at a hospital
    • A firefighter at a fire department facility

All personally identifiable information provided by the person delivering the child to a safe haven provider is confidential and may not be disclosed by the safe haven provider to anyone except to the extent necessary to provide temporary custody of the child until the child is transferred to the department and except as otherwise provided by court order. All health-care or other information obtained by a safe haven provider in providing temporary custody of the child may also be provided to the department upon request.

Effect on Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.