Safe Haven Laws – MO

, MO

Safe Haven Laws – MO
MO

Infant’s Age
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950
A child who is no more than 45 days old may be relinquished.
Who May Relinquish the Infant
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950
The child may be relinquished by his or her biological parent.
Who May Receive the Infant
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950
The child may be released to the physical custody of any of the following persons:
• An employee, agent, or member of the staff of any hospital, maternity home, or pregnancy resource center in a health-care
provider position, or on duty in a nonmedical paid or volunteer position
• A firefighter or emergency medical technician on duty in a paid position or on duty in a volunteer position
• A law enforcement officer

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950
A safe haven provider shall, without a court order, take physical custody of a child the person reasonably believes to be no more
than 45 days old and is delivered in accordance with this section by a person purporting to be the child’s parent. If delivery of a
newborn is made in any place other than a hospital, the person taking physical custody of the child shall arrange for the immediate
transportation of the child to the nearest hospital.
The hospital shall perform treatment in accordance with the prevailing standard of care as necessary to protect the physical health or safety of the child.
The hospital shall notify the Children’s Division and the local juvenile officer upon receipt of a child. The local juvenile officer shall
immediately begin protective custody proceedings and request the child be made a ward of the court during the child’s stay in the
medical facility. Upon discharge of the child from the medical facility and pursuant to a protective custody order ordering custody of the child to the division, the division shall take physical custody of the child.


Immunity for the Provider
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950
A safe haven provider shall be immune from civil, criminal, and administrative liability for accepting physical custody of a child
pursuant to this section, if such persons accept custody in good faith. Such immunity shall not extend to any acts or omissions,
including negligent or intentional acts or omissions, occurring after the acceptance of such child.


Protection for Relinquishing Parent
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950
A parent voluntarily relinquishing a child shall not be required to provide any identifying information about the child or the parent.
No person shall induce or coerce, or attempt to induce or coerce, a parent into revealing his or her identity. In addition, any person
who obtains information on the relinquishing parent shall not disclose such information except to the following:
• A birth parent who has waived anonymity or the child’s adoptive parent
• The staff of the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Department of Social Services, or any licensed agency that
provides services to the child
• A person performing juvenile court intake or dispositional services
• The attending physician
• The child’s foster parent or any other person who has physical custody of the child
• A juvenile court or other court of competent jurisdiction conducting proceedings relating to the child
• The attorney representing the interests of the public in proceedings relating to the child
• The attorney representing the interests of the child
A parent shall not be prosecuted for child abandonment or endangering the welfare of a child for actions related to the voluntary
relinquishment of a child up to 45 days old if:
• Expressing intent not to return for the child, the parent voluntarily delivered the child safely to the physical custody of any safe
haven provider.
• The child was no more than 45 days old when delivered by the parent to a safe haven provider.
• The child had not been abused or neglected by the parent prior to such voluntary delivery.
It shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution for child abandonment or endangering the welfare of a child that a parent who is a
defendant who voluntarily relinquished a child no more than 1 year old.


Effect on Parental Rights
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950
The parent’s voluntary delivery of the child in accordance with this section shall constitute the parent’s implied consent to any such
act and a voluntary relinquishment of such parent’s parental rights.
If one parent relinquishes custody of his or her child to a safe haven provider, the nonrelinquishing parent, to preserve his or her
parental rights, must take the steps necessary to establish parentage within 30 days after public notice has been made of the child’s
relinquishment. If either parent fails to take steps to establish parentage within the 30-day period, either parent may have all of his or
her rights terminated with respect to the child.
When either parent inquires at a hospital regarding a child whose custody was relinquished pursuant to this section, such facility shall
refer such parent to the Children’s Division and the juvenile court exercising jurisdiction over the child

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