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Idaho Safe Haven Act: alternative to abandoning infants

What options do parents have if the don’t feel like they can care for a baby? One is Idaho’s Safe Haven Act, which is a law designed as an alternative to abandoning a baby.

The whole point of it is to avoid what happened last week in Twin Falls where a deputy found a baby dead in a diaper bag.

The Safe Haven Act allows a parent to turn of their baby without punishment as long as standards are met. The baby has to be under 30 days old, and parents can only turn over the baby to health care worker at any hospital, clinic or emergency medical services provider in Idaho.

“It’s anonymous and it’s designed to keep the baby safe and make sure it’s in a safe environment so they don’t do something more drastic,” said Eric Day, Idaho Falls Fire Department Division chief of EMS.

While this law is to provide an alternative to abandoning a baby, some say it’s still not the best choice.

“You want to support this but not so much as push it,” said Chief Compliance Officer at Mountain View Hospital Ned Hillyard. “You want to say there’s an avenue here but it’s the last-ditch avenue.”

According to a spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, there have been 26 safe have cases in the state since the law was implemented in 2001. The most recent was in 2014 in Canyon County. Bonneville County’s last case was in 2013, and Bannock County’s was in 2006.

Idaho Counties with Safe Haven cases
Ada: 5
Bannock: 3
Bonneville: 3
Canyon: 4
Idaho: 1
Kootenai: 4
Latah: 2
Nez Perce: 4

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