Infant Safe Haven Laws - New Jersey

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Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-15.7

A child who is or appears to be no more than 30 days old may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-15.7

A parent, or a person designated by the parent, may relinquish the child.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-15.7

The child may be delivered to any of the following:

  • A State, county, or municipal police station
  • A fire station or volunteer fire department that is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • A public or private ambulance, first aid, or rescue squad that is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • The emergency department of a licensed hospital

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-15.7

If a person leaves the child at a police station, fire station, or rescue squad and does not express an intent to return for the child, a police officer, fire fighter, or emergency medical technician shall take the child to the emergency department of a hospital.

If a person leaves the child at an emergency department of a hospital and does not express an intent to return for the child, or if a police officer brings a relinquished child to the hospital, the hospital shall do the following:

  • Take possession of the child without a court order
  • Take any action or provide any treatment necessary to protect the child's physical health and safety
  • Notify the Division of Child Protection and Permanency that the hospital has taken possession of the child no later than the first business day after taking possession of the child

The division shall assume the care, custody, and control of the child immediately upon receipt of notice from the hospital. The division shall commence a thorough search of all listings of missing children to ensure that the relinquished child has not been reported missing.

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-15.7

A State, county, or municipal police officer and the governmental jurisdiction employing that officer or an employee of an emergency department of a licensed general hospital in this State and the hospital employing that person shall incur no civil or criminal liability for any good-faith acts or omissions performed pursuant to this section.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-15.7

It shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution for abandonment of a child that the parent voluntarily delivered the child to a safe haven provider. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to create a defense to any prosecution arising from any conduct other than the act of delivering the child, and this subsection specifically shall not constitute a defense to any prosecution arising from an act of abuse or neglect committed prior to the delivery of the child.

Any person who voluntarily delivers a child who is or appears to be no more than 30 days old to a licensed general hospital; a police station; fire department; or ambulance, first aid, or rescue squad in accordance with this section shall not be required to disclose that person's name or other identifying information or that of the child or the child's parent, if different from the person who delivers the child to the hospital; police station; fire department; or ambulance, first aid, or rescue squad, or provide background or medical information about the child, but may voluntarily do so.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-15.8

The division, after assuming the care, custody, and control of a child, shall not be required to attempt to reunify the child with the child's parents. Additionally, the division shall not be required to search for relatives of the child as a placement or permanency option or to implement other placement requirements that give preference to relatives if the division does not have information as to the identity of the child, the child's mother, or the child's father. The division shall place the child with potential adoptive parents as soon as possible.