Safe Haven for Newborns

Safe Haven for Newborns - Abandoned Infants
The Abandoned Infant Protection Act was created in Chapter 156 of the Laws of 2000. Under this provision a parent, guardian or other legally responsible person may leave their infant (who must be 5 days old or less) at a safe place. The law requires that an adult must intend that the child be safe from physical injury, cared for in an appropriate manner, with an appropriate person, in a suitable location and promptly notify an appropriate person of the child’s location.

People leaving an infant in compliance with this law are not required to provide their names. Such individuals will not be prosecuted as a class E felony of Abandonment of a Child and class A misdemeanor of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Individuals who give up their infants do not automatically surrender their parental rights; and may later seek to reclaim the child. It is important to note that this legislation does not amend provisions of the Social Services law which make abandonment of an infant reportable to the New York State Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

To be in compliance with this law, the infant must be turned over to a firefighter and not just “left on the door step”.

NRFD Abandoned Infants Procedure

In the event a parent or legal guardian chooses to relinquish care of their newborn infant to a New Rochelle Fire Department facility; the following guidelines should be considered:
  • In keeping with the intent of the governing legislation; parents are not required to provide their names to the NRFD. In a non-judgmental manner, NRFD staff may ask the presenting adult if there is any medical information that is important to know in the care of the infant.
  • “Staffed” Fire Stations have been identified as “safe places” by the District Attorney for the purposes of this legislation.
  • Infants received by NRFD should be transported by EMS to the nearest hospital for medical assessment/care.