Infant Safe Haven Laws - Utah

Date:

Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-801

A newborn child may be relinquished. The term 'newborn child' means a child who is approximately 30 days old or younger, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

The parent or parent's designee may relinquish the child.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 62A-4a-801; 62A-4a-802

A parent or a parent's designee may safely relinquish a newborn child at a hospital. The term 'hospital' means a general acute hospital that meets the following criteria:

  • Equipped with an emergency room
  • Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Staffed by full-time health-care professionals who have emergency medical services training

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

Personnel employed by a hospital shall accept a newborn child who is relinquished and may presume that the person relinquishing is the newborn child's parent or the parent's designee.

The person receiving the newborn child may request information regarding the parent and newborn child's medical histories and identifying information regarding the nonrelinquishing parent of the child. If the newborn child's parent or the parent's designee provides the person receiving the newborn child with any of the information or any other personal items, the person shall provide the information or personal items to the division.

Personnel employed by the hospital shall do the following:

  • Provide any necessary medical care to the newborn child
  • Notify the division of receipt of the newborn child as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after receipt of the newborn child
  • Prepare a birth certificate or, if parentage is unknown, a foundling birth certificate for the newborn child and file the certificate with the Office of Vital Records and Statistics within the Department of Health

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

A hospital and personnel employed by a hospital are immune from any civil or criminal liability arising from accepting a newborn child if the personnel employed by the hospital substantially comply with the provisions of this part and medical treatment is administered according to standard medical practice.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

A parent or a parent's designee may safely relinquish a newborn child at a hospital and retain complete anonymity as long as the newborn child has not been subject to abuse or neglect.

Safe relinquishment of a newborn child who has not otherwise been subject to abuse or neglect shall not, in and of itself, constitute neglect, and the newborn child shall not be considered a neglected child as long as the relinquishment is carried out in substantial compliance with these provisions.

As long as the person relinquishing a newborn child is the child's parent or the parent's designee and there is no abuse or neglect, safe relinquishment of a newborn child in substantial compliance with these provisions is an affirmative defense to any potential criminal liability for abandonment or neglect relating to that relinquishment.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

The division shall assume care and custody of the newborn child immediately upon notice from the hospital. If the division determines there is no abuse or neglect of the newborn child, neither the newborn child nor the child's parents are subject to the investigation provisions contained in § 62A-4a-409 or a dependency proceeding.

Unless identifying information relating to the nonrelinquishing parent of the newborn child has been provided, the division shall do the following:

  • Work with local law enforcement and the Bureau of Criminal Identification to ensure that the newborn child has not been identified as a missing child
  • Immediately place the newborn child in a potential adoptive home and, within 10 days after the day on which the child is received, file a petition for termination of parental rights
  • Direct the Office of Vital Records and Statistics to conduct a search for the following:
    • A birth certificate for the newborn child
    • Unmarried biological fathers in the paternity registry
  • Provide notice to each potential father identified on the paternity registry

If no individual has affirmatively identified himself or herself within 2 weeks after the day on which notice is complete and established paternity by scientific testing within as expeditious a time frame as practicable, a hearing on the petition for termination of parental rights shall be scheduled.

If a nonrelinquishing parent is not identified, relinquishment of a newborn child shall be considered grounds for termination of parental rights of both the relinquishing and nonrelinquishing parents under § 80-4-301.