For most adults, it is likely having a home to provide shelter and security with adequate income to meet basic needs. For an unborn child, it is the mother’s womb, which provides nourishment and protection. For a newborn infant, it is parents who provide all the child’s needs. However, not every woman who becomes pregnant is prepared to raise a child. Sometimes she gives birth and sees no option except to abandon the baby, often at an unsafe place. Ohio’s “Safe Havens for Newborns” law provides a better alternative.
Under this law, a birth parent, either mother or father, may anonymously leave a newborn infant up to 30 days old with a medical professional at a hospital, a medical worker at a fire department or other emergency organization, or a peace officer at a law enforcement agency. Though the birth parent is not required to provide any information, including his or her name, basic health information about the pregnancy and family health history can be helpful for the child.
The law protects the parent(s) from any legal consequences as long as the infant has not been abused or neglected. The child will be provided medical attention, if required, and placed in the care of the county’s children services agency.
If you have recently given birth and are unable to care for a newborn or, if you know someone in this situation, please consider the “Safe Havens” option. For more information about Safe Havens and to download a copy of the voluntary medical history form, visit https://jfs.ohio.gov/safehavens/.
If you think you are pregnant and will be unable to care for a child, you can call or visit any local pregnancy center for advice and help with your pregnancy, whether you plan on keeping your baby or placing the child up for adoption. Most of these centers offer free medical quality pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, and material assistance before and after the baby’s birth. All their services are provided confidentially. You can find a pregnancy center in your area at: https://helpinyourarea.com/ohio/