What is Safe Haven?
Pennsylvania's Safe Haven Law
Safe Haven gives mothers a safe, legal and confidential alternative to abandoning their baby.
Pennsylvania is one of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that have enacted safe haven legislation.
How does Safe Haven work?
It allows parents to relinquish newborns up to 28 days old at any Pennsylvania
hospital or to a police officer at a police station without the fear of criminal
prosecution as long as the baby has not been harmed. To make sure that your baby
gets the care it needs, you can give your baby to a hospital staff member without
having to give them any information. If you don't want to do that, as long as you
leave the the baby at a hospital, you don't have to give the baby to anyone. Some
hospitals even have a crib or bassinet for you to put the baby in. If you take the baby
to a police station, you must give the baby to a police officer.
Why is Safe Haven necessary?
Young girls and women who might be hiding their pregnancies or arenít ready to be
mothers are often scared, and donít know where to turn. Out of fear or shame, some
mothers abandon their baby hours after birth. Safe Haven gives parents an option that
is both safe for their child and confidential.
Does it work?
Yes! Since Safe Havenís inception in Pennsylvania, 25 babies have been successfully
handed over to hospitals and subsequently adopted.
What happens to the mother/father?
No information from the parents is needed and no questions will be asked. The person
leaving the baby can provide family medical information if they choose or they can
take a health history form to fill out later and mail in anonymously. As long as the
baby is less than 28 days old and not harmed or abused, they will not get into trouble
with the police.
What happens to the baby?
When a baby is left at the hospital or with a police officer at a police station, he or she
is in safe hands. The baby will be examined by a doctor and provided any medical
care needed. The local county children and youth agency will take custody of the baby
and find him or her a loving family.
Who is the target of the Safe Haven program?
In most cases, these mothers are unwed, 15 to 25 years old, and the pregnancy is
either unwanted or hidden. These women are often alone, afraid and unaware of the
options they have after the baby is born.
Where can you get more information?
The Safe Haven Web site is www.secretsafe.org. Another great advice and
information center for mothers is the Pennsylvania Safe Haven Helpline: 1-866-921-SAFE (7233).