Infant Safe Haven Laws - Wyoming

Date:

Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-11-102

A newborn child may be relinquished. The term 'newborn child' means a child who is 14 days old or younger, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-11-103

A parent or a parent's designee may relinquish a newborn child to a safe haven provider in accordance with the provisions of this act and retain complete anonymity.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§14-11-102; 14-11-103

The child may be left at any safe haven provider. A safe haven provider may be any of the following that is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

  • A fire station
  • A hospital
  • A police department or sheriff's office
  • Any other place of shelter and safety identified by the Department of Family Services that meets the requirements of rules and regulations

The term 'fire station' means a fire station that is open and operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that is continually staffed with full-time, paid firefighters who have emergency medical services training.

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
  • Employs full-time health-care professionals who have emergency medical services training

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-11-103

A safe haven provider shall accept a newborn child who is relinquished pursuant to the provisions of this act and may presume that the person relinquishing is the child's parent or parent's designee.

The parent or parent's designee may provide information regarding the parent and newborn child's medical histories and identifying information regarding the nonrelinquishing parent of the child, but the safe haven provider may not require that any information be given.

A safe haven provider may provide any necessary emergency medical care to the newborn child and shall deliver custody of the newborn child to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.

A hospital receiving a relinquished newborn child may provide any necessary medical care to the child and shall notify the local child protective agency as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after receiving the child.

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-11-108

Any person, official, institution, or agency participating in good faith in any act required or permitted by this act is immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise result by reason of the action. For the purpose of any civil or criminal proceeding, the good faith of any person, official, institution, or agency participating in any act permitted or required by this act shall be presumed.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 14-11-103; 14-11-106

A parent or a parent's designee relinquishing a newborn child may retain complete anonymity. The safe haven provider may not require that any information be given.

Relinquishment of a newborn child shall not, in and of itself, constitute abuse or neglect and the child shall not be considered an abused or neglected child, as long as the relinquishment is carried out in substantial compliance with provisions of this act.

If the person relinquishing a newborn child is the child's parent or the parent's designee, relinquishment of a newborn child in substantial compliance with the provisions of this act is an affirmative defense to any potential criminal liability for abandonment or neglect relating to that relinquishment.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 14-11-103; 14-11-104; 14-11-105

The local child protective agency shall assume care and custody of the child immediately upon notice from the hospital. After receiving custody, the local child protective agency shall assist in placement of the newborn child.

Unless reliable and sufficient identifying information relating to the newborn child has been provided, the Department of Family Services shall work with law enforcement agencies in an effort to ensure that the newborn child has not been identified as a missing child.

The Department of Family Services shall immediately place or contract for placement of the newborn child in a potential adoptive home. If neither parent of the newborn child affirmatively seeks the return of the child within 3 months after the date of delivery to a safe haven provider, the department shall file a petition for the termination of the parent-child legal relationship. Prior to filing a petition for termination, the department shall conduct a search of the putative father registry for unmarried biological fathers, and if the putative father is identified, he shall be given notice of the petition.