How the Safe Haven Law Works
How the Law Works
Under Illinois’ Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act – known as the Safe Haven Law – unharmed infants 30 days old or younger can be handed to staff at a Safe Haven – a Police Station (including Campus Police), Fire Station, Hospital or Emergency Medical Facility. No questions asked. You don’t have to give your name. The police will not be called. Your baby will get medical care and be adopted.
All 50 states in the U.S. and many countries around the world have Safe Haven laws. While laws vary by state, including the age of the newborn and locations where newborns can be brought, every state promises the ability to safely relinquish your newborn under the law.
For information on laws outside of Illinois visit your state’s Safe Haven website or contact the National Safe Haven Alliance.
Help Is Available
If you are pregnant, or know someone who is pregnant, and desperate, help is available. An unwanted pregnancy can be a traumatic experience. You may have overwhelming feelings of isolation, fear, or shame that could lead to irrational thoughts or acts such as unsafely abandoning your baby.
Each year in Illinois, there are disturbing reports of newborns found in dumpsters or other unsafe places. We know that unfortunately, half of unsafely abandoned newborns end up dead. But in Illinois, the Safe Haven law offers a safe option for parents.
Safe Haven Helpline
Where Are Safe Havens?
Safe Havens for newborns in Illinois include:
Staff at a Police Station or College Campus Police
Staff at a Fire Station
Staff at a Hospital or Emergency Care Facility
Look for this sign at all Police Stations (including Campus Police), Fire Stations, Hospitals or Emergency Medical Facilities in Illinois.
What Does The Law Do?
The Safe Haven law saves babies. It says that parents who do not harm their baby cannot be prosecuted for abandonment, if they bring their baby, up to 30 days old, to a safe place. It gives a desperate parent a responsible alternative.
What Happens at a Safe Haven?
Newborns, up to 30 days old, can be brought to staff person at a Police station, Fire station, Hospital or Emergency Medical Facility. Police and Fire station staff make arrangements for transportation to the nearest hospital.
Hospital Personnel will do an extensive physical examination of the child and provide any needed care. The hospital then gains temporary custody of the newborn infant until he/she is discharged to an adoption agency.
Voluntary Medical Information About Your Newborn
If you wish, you can fill out forms to provide medical information about your newborn that will help healthcare workers taking care of your baby.
The forms can be filled out at the police station, fire station, or hospital. Or, you can take the forms home and return them by mail.
The Safe Haven Information Packet includes:
- Information about Illinois’ Safe Haven Law
- Contact information for organizations that support the Safe Haven law.
- Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange program information.
- An optional Medical Information Form for your newborn.
- Medical information for mothers who have just given birth.
This information can be found on our website here.