Newborn Boy Declared Safe Haven Baby

State Uses Safe Haven Procedures 32nd Time

Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) officials have used the state’s safe haven procedures for the 32nd time since the law went into effect.

A boy was born August 19, 2018, at an Iowa hospital and the infant was released to the custody of DHS.

A court hearing to terminate parental rights is held within a month. Specific details are withheld in order to protect the identity of the parents and the child.

Through Iowa’s safe haven law, parents have the option to safely hand over custody of babies age 30 days or younger without fear of prosecution for abandonment. The parent, or their authorized representative, can leave the newborn at a hospital or health care facility, and can remain anonymous.

The safe haven law was approved in the wake of a high-profile case in 2001 involving a teen mother in eastern Iowa who killed her home-delivered newborn. Infants who are safe haven babies are placed with currently-approved foster or adoptive families.

If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, please visit www.iowafosterandadoption.org.

For more information on the safe haven procedure: http://dhs.iowa.gov/safe-haven.

Correction: A previous version of this release indicated parents have the option to safely hand over custody of babies age 14 days or younger without fear of prosecution for abandonment. Legislation was recently passed, allowing parents the option to safely hand over custody of babies age 30 days or younger without fear of prosecution for abandonment.