Infant Safe Haven Laws - North Carolina

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Infant's Age

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-500

A child who is younger than 7 days old may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-500

The child's parent may relinquish the infant.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-500

The following individuals shall, without a court order, take into temporary custody an infant under 7 days old who is voluntarily delivered to the individual by the infant's parent who does not express an intent to return for the infant:

  • A health-care provider who is on duty or at a hospital, a local or district health department, or a nonprofit community health center
  • A law enforcement officer who is on duty or at a police station or sheriff's department
  • A social services worker who is on duty or at a local department of social services
  • A certified emergency medical service worker who is on duty or at a fire or emergency medical services station
  • Any adult

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-500

An individual who takes an infant into temporary custody shall perform any act necessary to protect the physical health and well-being of the infant and shall immediately notify the Department of Social Services or a local law enforcement agency.

Any individual who takes an infant into temporary custody may inquire as to the parents' identities and any relevant medical history, but the parent is not required to provide the information. The individual shall notify the parent that the parent is not required to provide the information.

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-500

An individual who accepts a relinquished infant is immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of any omission or action taken pursuant to the requirements of this section as long as that individual was acting in good faith. The immunity established by this subsection does not extend to gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing that would otherwise be actionable.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 7B-500; 14-322.3

The parent is not required to provide identifying information or medical history information. The individual taking custody of the child shall notify the parent that the parent is not required to provide the information.

When a parent abandons an infant who is less than 7 days old by voluntarily delivering the infant as provided in § 7B-500 and does not express an intent to return for the infant, that parent shall not be prosecuted for abandonment, failure to support, or unlawful surrender of a child.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-500

The safe haven provider takes temporary custody of the child.