For the second time in just less than two months, the Iowa Department of Human Services says a safe haven baby has been turned over to the state. DHS spokesperson, Amy McCoy says the boy was born on June 14th at an Iowa hospital and the mother immediately asked that he be declared a safe haven baby. Other details are kept confidential to allow the parents of the child to remain anonymous.
The Safe Haven law was passed in 2001 following a case where a young girl killed her child shortly after it was born.”This is the 19th time that the state has used the Safe Haven procedure,” McCoy says. “It’s in place so that mothers in crisis can hand over custody of their child. And this is an effort to keep newborns safe and get them the protection that they need,” McCoy says.
The last safe haven baby was turned over to the state on April 15th. McCoy believes more people are not aware of the law. “I think people are really starting to see the safe haven procedure is out there and they know it’s really possible to hand over custody when it’s needed without there being any negative action,” McCoy says.
She says the are just a few requirements the parents of the baby have to follow. “Parents can give up custody of a baby age 14 days or younger with no questions asked. And they have to do this at a health facility — so it could be a hospital, a nursing facility, any place that would be considered kind of a health-centered facility,” McCoy says.
She says the babies eventually end up in another home. “In all previous cases safe haven babies have been successfully adopted,” according the McCoy. A court hearing will be held within one month to terminate the parental rights for the latest baby turned over under the law.