Infant Safe Haven Laws - Puerto Rico

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Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 1082i

A newborn may be relinquished. A 'newborn' is a child younger than 72 hours old.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 1082i

A mother may surrender her newborn child to a designated safe haven facility.

The birth mother or birth parents or those who hold the parental rights to a minor of up to age 3 may voluntarily relinquish the minor to an official authorized by the Department of the Family or to an adoption agency without engaging in child abandonment, provided that the minor shows no signs of abuse or mistreatment.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 1082i

A newborn may be relinquished at any of the following locations:

  • A public or private hospital
  • A fire station
  • Any State or municipal police station
  • A church
  • Any office of the Department of the Family
  • Any foster home recognized by the department
  • An adoption agency that has joined the voluntary relinquishment of minors or safe haven program

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 1082i

The newborn shall be delivered to the personnel of the public or private hospital who shall be required to assume physical custody of the newborn and to contact the department immediately. If a minor is relinquished at an adoption agency that has joined the voluntary relinquishment of minors or safe haven program, such agency shall be required to have the appropriate personnel to manage the relinquishment and receipt of such minor. These adoption agencies shall have the duty to inform the general public about their voluntary relinquishment of minors and safe haven programs. If the minor is relinquished at a fire station, municipal or State police station, church, any office of the department, or a foster home, the department shall be notified immediately and the newborn transported to the emergency room of the nearest hospital institution at once. The department shall establish the protocol to be followed in such cases.

Immunity for the Provider

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 1082i

A mother, before considering the possibility of abandoning her newborn, may relinquish her child at a designated safe haven confidentially and without prejudice and without fear of being arrested, prosecuted, or tried if the child is relinquished within 72 hours from birth, provided that the newborn does not show any signs of abuse or mistreatment. Otherwise, the hospital shall activate the existing protocol to be followed in child abuse cases.

Any mother who relinquishes a newborn within 72 hours after birth shall not be guilty of child abandonment as provided in title 33, § 5177, provided that she voluntarily relinquishes the child at a designated safe haven facility.

The mother shall be required to fill out a form on the medical history of the child. Such form shall not include information that may compromise the confidentiality of the mother. If she should refuse to fill out the form, such refusal shall not constitute an impediment for the hospital to receive the newborn child.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 1082i

The department shall be under the obligation to institute adoption proceedings immediately.