The Safe Haven Infant Protection Act


The Safe Haven Infant Protection Act became law in the State of New Jersey on August 7,2000. This law allows for the safe placement of an unwanted newborn infant less than 30 days old to be placed legally, and anonymously in the care of hospital emergency room staff or at a police station. While the infant must be handed to a staff member responding to the case, there are no reprisals, questions asked or prosecution of the parent/guardian/caretaker placing the infant. All legal protocols are adhered to including  verification on the missing child registry and child abuse/neglect laws. The Department works with the Union County Prosecutors Office in training new police recruits about this law. This law saves the lives of our infants.  On August 17, 2000, a healthy new born baby was brought to Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark under the provisions of the New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act. Michael Doe was the  first life protected under this law The baby’s mother did not identify herself when Michael was brought to the emergency room. He was examined and reported to be in very good condition.  He was placed into a pre-adoptive home and was adopted by this family. In the 12 months before Safe Haven was passed, eight babies were abandoned in public places. In the first 12 months of Safe Haven, there were only two. As of December 31, 2009, 43 newborns have been surrendered under Safe Haven. Other cases didn’t qualify as Safe Haven babies for technical reasons, but nevertheless those babies are now safe because their mothers knew about the Safe Haven law.