now there’s a safe haven
for unwanted infants
In New Jersey, the Safe Haven Infant
Protection Act allows an individual to give up an unwanted infant
with no fear of arrest or prosecution. No names or records are
required. The parents-or someone acting on their behalf-can bring a
baby less than 30 days old to any hospital emergency room or police
station. The Division of Youth and Family Services will immediately
take the child into custody and place the infant in a foster or
More About Safe Haven....
What is Safe Haven?
It's a new law: the New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act.
Under this law a person may give up an unwanted infant anonymously.
As long as the baby has not been abused, the person may do so
without fear of arrest or prosecution.
How does it work?
A distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant
can give up custody of a baby less than 30 days old safely, legally
and anonymously. All that is required is that the baby be brought to
a hospital emergency room or police station in New Jersey. As long
as the child shows no signs of intentional abuse, no name or other
information is required.
Can only a parent bring in the baby?
No. The parent may choose to have someone else bring in the infant.
It can be a family member, a friend, a priest or minister, a social
Can you help a parent decide where to
bring the baby?
Yes. The parent can call the Safe Haven Hotline,
1-877-839-2339, and get the address and directions for any hospital
or police station in the state.
Does a parent have to call before
bringing in the baby?
No. A parent can walk in anytime.
Does a parent have to tell anything to
the people taking the baby?
No. Nothing is required. However, hospital personnel or police will
record any information that a parent is willing to share, such as
the child's health, race, date of birth, place of birth or the
medical history of the parents. This could be very useful in caring
for the child.
What happens to the baby?
The child will be examined and given medical treatment, if needed.
Then the Division of Youth and Family Services will immediately take
custody and place the child in a foster or pre-adoptive home.
What happens to the mother?
If the mother brings in the baby, she will be offered medical
treatment and social services. She can, of course, refuse if she
wishes. Once she has safely turned over the baby, she is free to go.
Why is New Jersey doing this?
The purpose of Safe Haven is to protect unwanted babies from being
hurt or killed because they were abandoned.
You may have heard tragic stories of babies
left in dumpsters or public toilets. The parents who committed these
acts may have been under severe emotional distress. The mothers may
have hidden their pregnancies, fearful of what would happen if their
families found out. Because they were afraid and had nowhere to turn
for help, they abandoned their babies.
Abandoning a baby puts the child in extreme
danger. Too often, it results in the child's death. It is also
illegal, with severe consequences. But with Safe Haven, this tragedy
doesn't ever have to happen in New Jersey again.
Visit the New Jersey Safe Haven Infant
Protection Act Website