The Safe Haven Law, under Nevada Revised Statute 432B.630, passed in Nevada in 2001, is a law allowing an unharmed infant under 30 days old to be surrendered to a staff member at a hospital, police or fire station, no questions asked.
According to the safehavennv.org website, the Safe Haven Infant Protection Act allows a parent to surrender his or her infant with no fear of arrest or prosecution, no names or records are required, although any medical information is helpful.
“Being as this law has been in effect for several years, our officers are aware of the specifics according to the statute and the actions they are to take should a parent abandon a child who is not more than 30 days old,” said Captain Pam Coats of the Winnemucca Police Department.
After a baby is surrendered, if not already at a hospital, will be taken to the hospital for a medical assessment and treatment if needed, and then to the local child welfare agency.
“The local child welfare agency will take custody of the baby and they will then place the baby in an appropriate foster home,” said Karla Delgado, Social Services Chief for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. “If a parent does not contact child welfare services then steps will be taken to terminate parental rights and place the child in an adoptive home.”
Humboldt General Hospital has signs at both the Emergency Room entrance and the EMS rescue station, as well as inside the lobby of the Winnemucca Police Station, indicating these places are locations where a newborn can be surrendered.
This law could prevent infants who are unwanted or who have parents unable to care for them from disposing of them illegally or abandoning them elsewhere, potentially saving lives.
For more information, please contact The Division of Child and Family Services at (775) 684-4400 or www.safehavennv.org. The crisis hotline is (800) 992-5757, answered by the Crisis Call Center of Nevada.