What is Safe Place for Newborns?
Missouri's Safe Place for Newborns Law allows a parent to permanently give up a newborn up to 45 days old without prosecution, as long as it is done according to law and safely.
Parents who choose to leave a child who is more than 45 days old (but less than one year old) can use this law as an affirmative defense to charges related to child abandonment and child endangerment if it is done so safely and according to law.
Information for Parents
Before making this decision, you should know:
- This is permanent
- The newborn must be safe and left with an appropriate professional
- The other parent has rights
If you are not the parent making this decision and you would like custody of the child, you must take steps to prove you are the parent within 30 days after the juvenile officer has filed a public notice.
Who can I leave my newborn with?
According to the Missouri's Safe Place for Newborns Law, you may leave your newborn with the any of the following professionals:
- Law enforcement officer (whether on duty or off duty)
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Hospital staff
- Maternity home staff
- Pregnancy center staff
- A volunteer at a hospital, maternity home or pregnancy center
- Any staff in a health care provider position while off duty at a hospital, maternity home or pregnancy center
Information for Professionals
If you have a child brought to you and you are an approved professional, there are certain steps you must take.
If you have questions or would like more information about Missouri's Safe Place for Newborns Law, contact the Children's Division toll free at 1-800-392-3738.