Utah Safe Haven law helps protect newborns

By Jason M Carlton

In Utah, newborn babies can be dropped off at any 24-hour hospital and the hospital staff will care for the baby. No questions asked. No police.


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A birth parent can hand his or her baby to any hospital employee and from there the baby is taken to the Emergency Room where staff will check for any health concerns.  At that time, the Division of Child and Family Services is called and arrangements are made to place the baby for immediate adoption.  

“Every employee has the training to understand what the Safe Haven law is and what they need to do,” says Melanie Longmore, nurse manager of Labor & Delivery at LDS Hospital. “We’re not here to pass judgment. We’re here to make sure mom and baby are safe. We want everyone to know if you’re scared or unsure of what to do, there are options available so that your baby can have the best chance at life.”

The Utah Newborn Safe Haven law is designed to prevent the tragic situation where a woman abandons her newborn in an unsafe place, jeopardizing the life of the infant.

Fact about Utah’s Newborn Safe Haven law:

  • Any Utah hospital, open 24 hours, is designated as a “Safe Haven” for newborns to be dropped off safely.

  • The State Division of Child and Family Services (“DCFS”) assumes “legal custody” of the child as soon as the Division is contacted by the hospital (no more than 24 hours after the hospital’s receipt of the child).

  • If an infant is left at a hospital, the mother remains anonymous and will not be reported to the police, investigated or criminally prosecuted.

  • DCFS then places the child for an immediate adoption. For licensed adoption agencies in Utah, see the Utah Department of Human Services page. To become a foster parent and adopt children, visit Utah Foster Care.

  • Infants have already been saved under this procedure.

  • Utah was among the first group of states to pass a safe relinquishment law. All U.S. states have passed such laws.

Please help pass the word. An anonymous hotline is available 24 hours a day – call 1-866-458-0058.