New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act
protocols

New Jersey’s Safe Haven Infant Protection Act allows parents or their representatives to anonymously surrender a newborn baby at any hospital emergency room or police station in the state. If the baby appears to be 30 days old or less, and free of any abuse or neglect, the baby should be accepted with no questions asked.

Safe Haven Guidelines for Police

When a baby is brought to a police station under Safe Haven, a police officer should:

  • Take the Baby
    If the baby appears older than 30 days or abused or neglected, handle according to normal police procedures.
  • Offer Support
    If the birth mother surrenders the baby, she is free to walk away, but always offer to connect her to medical care or social services. Explain that by accepting services, she will not give up her legal protections or anonymity, which are provided under the Safe Haven law.
  • Don’t Ask, But If Someone Tells...
    The law requires that you take the baby without asking questions. Whenever possible, hand a Safe Haven questionnaire to the person surrendering the baby and stress that mailing the pre-addressed questionnaire will not compromise the parents’ legal protections or anonymity.

    Document any information that is offered voluntarily. Useful information includes:
    • Physical or developmental problems the baby may have
    • Parent information, such as race, age and medical history
    • Baby’s birthplace and first name
    • Any prenatal care provided to birth mother
  • Get the Baby to the Hospital
    The baby should be taken immediately to a hospital emergency room by patrol car, ambulance or first aid squad. All information shared by the birth mother or her representative should be reported to the emergency room staff.
  • Call the Safe Haven Hotline
    The receiving hospital is required to call the New Jersey Department of Children and Families' Safe Haven hotline at 1-877-839-2339 no later than the first business day after the baby is surrendered. Police staff may also call when a baby is surrendered to them at a police station.

Safe Haven Guidelines for Hospitals

When a baby is brought to, or delivered in, a hospital, the staff should:

  • Examine & Admit the Baby 
    Hospital staff should provide the baby any necessary medical care, including routine tests and treatment for newborns. If the baby appears older than 30 days or abused or neglected, handle according to normal hospital procedures.
  • Offer Medical Care and Service Referrals
    The birth mother is free to walk away, but she may be in need of medical attention or social services. Explain that by accepting services she will not give up legal protections or anonymity, which are provided under the Safe Haven law.
  • Don’t Ask, But If Someone Tells...
    The law requires that you take the baby without asking questions, but you should document any information that is offered voluntarily. Hand the Safe Haven questionnaire to the person surrendering the baby and stress that mailing the pre-addressed questionnaire will not compromise the parents’ legal protections or anonymity.

    If the child is brought in by a police officer, take any information the officer was able to acquire. Useful information includes:
    • Physical or developmental problems the baby may have
    • Parent information, such as race, age, and medical history
    • Baby’s birthplace and first name
    • Any prenatal care provided to birth mother
  • Call the Safe Haven Hotline
    Hospitals must call the New Jersey Department of Children and Families' Safe Haven hotline at 1-877-839-2339 no later than the first business day after the baby is surrendered.
  • Comply With Court Orders Obtained By DCF
    Orders may include DNA or HIV testing of the baby. When the baby is ready to be discharged, DCF will take custody and place the baby with a foster or pre-adoptive home.