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Two infants surrendered to Iowa DHHS in May under Safe Haven Law

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Two infants surrendered to Iowa DHHS in May under Safe Haven Law

Jun 14, 2024 | 6:46 pm ET
By Robin Opsahl
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Two infants surrendered to Iowa HHS in May under Safe Haven Law
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(Photo via Getty Images)

Two babies were turned over to the state in May as part of the Safe Haven Law, the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services reported.

The two infants, a girl born May 15 and a boy born May 26, make a total of four babies that have been surrendered to the state in the past year according to DHHS. Two other infants were given up through the law in March. In 2023, 10 babies were taken in by the state agency, with a total of 70 infants having been accepted by the state since the Safe Haven Law was put in place in 2002.

The state law allows for parents, or people with parental authorization, to leave a baby up to 90 days old at a hospital, health care facility, adoption service provider, or a fire station equipped with a newborn safety device, if the caretakers determine they cannot care for the child. Additionally, parents can relinquish physical custody of their child by calling 911.

The law is intended to give parents in crisis an opportunity to surrender a child without needing to be concerned about prosecution for child abandonment, according to the department.

The two children surrendered to the state in May are currently under the care of the department and will be placed with a foster family. A permanent family placement will be later determined for the infants, according to the release.

Kelly Garcia, director of the department, said in a news release that she wanted parents to know “they have this safe and trusted option at such a critical time” in their lives.

“Accessing Safe Haven is assuredly not an easy decision, but this law exists to protect newborns and its success is evident by the number of families that have trusted in the Safe Haven Act,” Garcia said. “Our goal is to protect these newborns and provide them with the best permanent home possible.”