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Community Health: Education, Prevention and Inspiration

Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act

Posted by Tammi A. Tannura -

In recent years, news reports have told the stories about the abandonment and in some cases subsequent injury or death of newborns by parents overwhelmed by emotional distress. The Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act in Illinois (otherwise known as "the act") provides the opportunity for parents to place their newborn in a safe environment anonymously, and without the threat of legal action. Most people would agree that having an adoption plan is preferable to giving up a newborn infant in this way, but this act provides a safer alternative.

Let's first define newborn infant. According to the act, a newborn infant is a child who is 30 days old or less when relinquished or given up. It is presumed that when given up, the parent also gives up parental rights with respect to that newborn infant.

According to the act, acceptable locations in which a newborn infant may be relinquished include hospitals, police stations, fire stations or emergency medical facilities.

Hospitals are required to accept and provide care to the newborn infant, as well as to evaluate whether the newborn infant was abused or neglected prior to being relinquished. The hospital assumes temporary custody of a newborn infant until a child-placing agency or the Department of Child and Family Services intervenes.

Every police station, fire station and emergency medical facility is required to accept and to seek medical care for a relinquished newborn infant. If the parent(s) of a newborn infant return(s) within 72 hours, the police station, fire station or emergency medical facility is required to provide the parents(s) the name and location of the hospital in which the infant was transported.

Because the personnel of a hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility are mandated reporters, they must report child abuse or neglect that they suspect occurred before giving up the newborn infant, Let's be clear about this....a child abuse investigation cannot be initiated solely because the newborn infant was given up.

For more information see the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act in the Illinois Compiled Statutes (325ILCS2)

Source:

(325ILCS2/) Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act retrieved from http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp


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