The Safe Haven Law
Illinois’ Abandoned Newborn Infant
No Shame, No Blame, No Names
• You're afraid. You don't want to keep this
baby. You just want someone to take it, keep
it safe, and make sure it gets a good home.
• Don't panic. There are people who will help
you with NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
• Give your baby a chance!
• 24 hour/day hotline: 888-510-2229 2
• In2001 Illinois passed the Abandoned Newborn
Infant Protection Act, known as a Safe Haven law.
This law provides a safe and legal alternative to
unsafe infant abandonment.
•An unharmed baby up to 30 days old may be
relinquished to personnel at any Illinois Safe Haven
- All hospitals, police stations, staffed fire stations,
sheriff offices, and emergency medical care
facilities are designated Safe Havens.
• By handing your unharmed newborn to
personnel at any Safe Haven, you can walk
away with no questions asked.
• The baby will be cared for and placed in a
loving home for adoption.
• You will be offered an information packet with
a medical history form you can submit later,
and information on your rights.
This law provides an alternative to
abandonment for parents who feel they
cannot cope with a newborn baby. It offers a
Safe Haven for newborns, and is:
Private: No one will ask your name.
Legal: You will not be breaking any laws.
Safe: Your baby will be given medical care and
placed in a good home.
• Every child deserves a safe, loving, permanent
home. You can make plans to have your baby
adopted even before giving birth.
• For more information on adoption:
Call the Illinois Adoption Registry
1-877-323-5299 (a free call in Illinois)
What happens at a Safe Haven?
• Once the unharmed baby is handed to
personnel at a Safe Haven, the parent is
free to leave. No names need to be given,
no questions asked.
• The newborn will be taken to the nearest
hospital and will receive an exam, any
needed medical care, and be adopted by a
What happens after I leave?
• DCFS will check a missing children registry,
the Illinois Putative Fathers’ Registry, and
then contact an adoption agency.
• Safely relinquished newborns rarely go into
the foster care system; they are usually
placed within hours with a loving family
waiting to adopt.
What about the baby's medical
• A packet is offered to the parent and may be
filled out immediately or mailed in later.
Providing this information is voluntary, but
helpful to the infant and the adoptive family.
• Information may be given about the infant
anonymously at any time.
Medical History (continued)
• The packet also contains information on how
to receive counseling (if desired) as well as
information about the Illinois Adoption
Registry and Medical Information Exchange.
• It includes a contact number to call if a parent
changes their mind about relinquishing the
Who will help me?
• Safe Havens may offer medical care and
counseling services. Hospital staff members
are trained to help make sure you understand
your rights and options. If you do not want
these services, you may simply walk away.
• If you want to talk to someone now, you can
call the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation
(1-312-440-0229) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
We are here to help.
What about the father's rights?
• The Putative Fathers' Registry will be searched
to identify a putative father after a newborn
infant has been relinquished.
• Notice will be given to any potential putative
father discovered in a search of the registry.
Can I change my mind?
• Yes. The Act allows the parent 60 days to
reclaim their infant, subject to counseling and
an inquiry by DCFS.
• A relinquishing parent may petition the court
within the first 60 days in an effort to regain
parental rights. After 60 days, a petition to
terminate parental rights is filed.
What if the newborn is over 30
days old or there is evidence of
The infant and parent(s) do not qualify for this
Act, and all existing laws and procedures
remain in effect. The parent(s) could be
investigated and charged with any applicable
Why did Illinois pass this Act?
It reduces the risk that a newborn will be
abandoned in a dangerous environment that
may result in injury or death, and it protects
parents who relinquish their unharmed
newborn to a Safe Haven from prosecution.
How often does this happen?
• According to DCFS, 32 to 34 infants were
found abandoned each year from 1997-
1999. Of these, approximately 20 infants
were abandoned in the first 24 hours of life.
• According to a CNN review of FBI statistics,
nearly five infants under the age of one are
killed in the U.S. each week.
Does this law encourage
No. The mother is encouraged to talk to
someone even before the baby is born and is
encouraged to either keep the baby or to go
through normal channels of the adoption
process. She also is encouraged to seek
How will people know about this
• This Act requires DCFS to do public awareness
campaigns throughout Illinois.
• The Save Abandoned Babies Foundation helps
promote awareness of this life-saving
alternative to unsafe infant abandonment.
YOU can help too!
• Create an awareness campaign for your school
• Share this information with family and friends
• Create a YouTube video clip
• Write an editorial for your local newspaper,
church bulletin, or school newspaper
• The Safe Haven Act signed into law 8/17/2001
• From February through the end of the year,
three newborns were abandoned unsafely; of
those, one died.
• The focus turned to raising public awareness
and the Act began to show results.
• Eight babies were illegally abandoned, four
died. Two babies were safely and legally
relinquished under the Act.
• The Governor proclaimed April 4 as Save
Abandoned Babies Day.
• Seven babies were illegally abandoned; five
died. Three babies were safely and legally
• The law was amended, adding police stations
as a designated Safe Haven location.
• 11 babies were illegally abandoned, five of
them, dead. Six babies were safely and legally
• Legislators removed the Sunset Clause,
making the Safe Haven Act a permanent law in
• 12 babies were illegally abandoned; five
died. Nine babies were safely and legally
• Illinois School Code amended to require the
Safe Haven Act be included in all school
comprehensive health education classes.
• Four babies illegally abandoned, two of those
babies found dead, and eight legally
• A Teacher's Kit was produced by the Save
Abandoned Babies Foundation (download free
at www.SaveAbandonedBabies.org) to help
teachers incorporate this life-saving
information into their curriculum.
The Kit covers the basics of the law, provides
suggested curriculum, offers interdisciplinary
teaching extensions, wallet cards for students,
and helpful resource listings.
• Legislation signed on August 17th mandates a
uniform Safe Haven sign to be displayed at all
designated Safe Havens state wide.
• Ten safe and legal relinquishments, four
unsafe abandonments with one dead.
• Alaska and Nebraska sign Safe Haven laws.
Every state now has a law!
• Ten safe and legal relinquishments, five unsafe
abandonments with 3 not surviving.
• On August 12, 2009, Governor Quinn signed
HB3925 into law. This extends the time a parent
has to relinquish their unharmed newborn from
7 days to a full 30 days.
uniform signs must
now be displayed
by all Illinois Safe
In partnership with the Department of Children
and Family Services (DCFS), the Save Abandoned
Babies Foundation offers the following
• Posters, brochures, information cards
• An informational website:
• Teacher’s Kit
Posters and brochures
are available at no cost
through the Save
Foundation or DCFS
Double-sided cards are
available at no cost
through the Save
Foundation or DCFS
These posters were
designed to bring
attention to the newly
mandated Safe Haven
Posters, cards, and
brochures are available at
no cost through the Save
Foundation and DCFS
• The Save Abandoned Babies Foundation is an
all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization dedicated
to promoting awareness of the Illinois Safe
• More information is available by visiting our
website at www.SaveAbandonedBabies.org.
For more information on the Illinois Safe Haven
law, or to order print materials, please visit
www.SaveAbandonedBabies.org or email
All inquiries are confidential.