Safe Haven of Pennsylvania, also known as the Newborn Protection Act, was enacted in 2002 and amended in 2014, and it states that any parent may leave a newborn baby in the care of a hospital or with a police officer at a police station without being criminally liable as long as the baby is no older than 28 days and is not harmed.
Girls who are pregnant, desperate or hiding their pregnancies need to know that their baby can be kept healthy and safe without anyone knowing they gave birth and without any criminal repercussions. Since 2003, 29 babies have been relinquished under Safe Haven.
Girls who have unwanted or unexpected pregnancies may feel that they are in crisis and have to do something desperate. Some may panic and young women need to know that they have safe options.
- If you’re pregnant, there are several options for you. Feeling nervous or scared or not knowing where to turn is natural – this is a big step in a lot of people’s lives – but there are people and programs out there who want to help you through it.
- You can make decisions before having a baby about who will care for it. That might mean relatives, adoptive parents, the father and/or you.
- A great advice and information center is the Pennsylvania Safe Haven Helpline 1-866-921-SAFE (7233). They can walk you through the decisions you’ll have to make and explore all your options before the baby is born. Another good place for information is the Safe Haven Web Site, www.secretsafe.org.
- If you’re not prepared to be a mom or take care of your newborn, and you don’t have anyone to ask for help, there’s a place where you can take your baby to ensure its safety and health. All you have to do is give your newborn (up to 28 days old) to any hospital or police officer at a police station. That’s all. No one will ask questions. No one will judge you. If it’s a secret, it will stay a secret.
- You don’t have to worry about the hospital staff or police officers asking you for personal information or asking why you’re bringing your baby. They are there to protect babies and want to give all newborns the care they need and deserve, no matter what. No one will ask you who you are or where you live. No information is required.
- As long as the baby is unharmed, you will not get into trouble. A doctor will examine the baby and make sure it stays healthy.
- It is important that you tell the hospital or police officer about any health problems you or the baby may have. You can provide medical information for the baby, but it’s not required and you don’t have to answer any questions. If you’d like you can take a health history form with you to fill out and mail in anonymously.
- After the baby is left at the hospital or with a police officer, it is in safe hands. The local county children and youth agency will take custody of the baby and find it a good home. If at any point you change your mind and want your baby back, you will need to contact your county children and youth agency.
- It is very important throughout this process that you and your baby are healthy. Please see a doctor. It is extremely unsafe to go through a pregnancy with no medical help. If you are unsure of where to go, you have several options for medical care. Call the Healthy Baby Helpline, 1-800-986-BABY (2229) and someone will help you find free or low cost health care services.
- We just want you to know that whatever you decide, there is always the option of Safe Haven.