Infant Safe Haven Laws - Washington

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Infant's Age

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.34.360

A newborn may be relinquished. The term 'newborn' means a live human being who is younger than 72 hours old.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.34.360

The newborn may be relinquished by his or her parent.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.34.360

The parent may leave the infant with a qualified person at an appropriate location. An appropriate location includes the following:

  • The emergency department of a licensed hospital during the hours the hospital is in operation
  • A fire station during its hours of operation and while fire personnel are present
  • A federally designated rural health clinic during its hours of operation

A qualified person includes the following:

  • Any person that the parent transferring the newborn reasonably believes is a bona fide employee, volunteer, or medical staff member of the hospital who represents to the parent transferring the newborn that he or she can and will summon appropriate resources to meet the newborn's immediate needs
  • A firefighter, volunteer, or emergency medical technician at a fire station who represents to the parent transferring the newborn that he or she can and will summon appropriate resources to meet the newborn's immediate needs

A federally designated rural health clinic is not required to provide ongoing medical care of a transferred newborn beyond that already required by law and may transfer the newborn to a licensed hospital. The federally designated rural health clinic shall notify child protective services of the transfer of the newborn to the hospital.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.34.360

The qualified person at an appropriate location shall do the following:

  • Attempt to protect the anonymity of the parent who transfers the newborn
  • Provide an opportunity for the parent to anonymously give such information as the parent knows about the family medical history of the parents and the newborn
  • Provide referral information about adoption options, counseling, appropriate medical and emotional aftercare services, domestic violence, and legal rights to the parent seeking to transfer the newborn
  • Notify child protective services within 24 hours after receipt of the newborn

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.34.360

A hospital, federally designated rural health clinic, or fire station and its employees, volunteers, and medical staff are immune from any criminal or civil liability for accepting or receiving a newborn under this section.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.34.360

A parent of a newborn who transfers the newborn to a qualified person at an appropriate location is not subject to criminal liability for abandonment of a child.

The qualified person at an appropriate location shall not require the parent to provide any identifying information in order to transfer the newborn.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.34.360

Child protective services shall assume custody of the newborn within 24 hours after receipt of notification.