State Laws About Surrendering a Baby

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EUGENE, Ore. — The baby who a man surrendered to a Eugene Dari Mart is now in custody of the Department of Human Services.

The State of Oregon has very clear laws when it comes to surrendering an unwanted baby. To help prevent distressed parents from abandoning a baby, the state allows a way to give up a baby confidentially, legally, and safely. But there are rules that have to be followed.

To help prevent tragedies with abandoned babies, Lane County Health and Human Services says an adult can drop off a child to a designated safe haven.

“A safe haven includes a fire station, a police department, public health, or any physicians or medical practitioner’s office, and that includes a hospital too,” said Jason Davis, Lane County Health and Human Services Spokesman.

But the Eugene Fire and Medical Services says within that law is another guideline.

“If a child is less than 30 days old, a child can be surrendered to the fire stations as long as there’s personnel available to receive the child,” said JoAnna Kamppi, EMS Chief.

According to the state website, this is called the “A Safe Place for Newborns Law.” It adds that there must also be no visible signs up injuries to avoid any legal consequences. Both Davis and Kamppi say each of their branches is a safe haven because of the resources they can provide.

“We are a safe haven, public health, primarily because of the counselors and physicians we have here,” Davis said.

“There’s typically medically trained people at a fire station, and we have the means to transport a child to the hospital and to get the rest of the authorities involved that need to be involved in a case like this,” Kamppi said.

Davis says in the times he’s worked in Lane County, it hasn’t been common to see this happen because parents typically know what to do.

“They will go through the due diligence of making sure they’re giving their child the best options by working with local authorities to re-direct custody of the child,” Davis said.

When asked about the recent incident involving the baby surrendered at Dari Mart, Davis says it is not a safe haven for this but the clerks handled the situation exactly they way they should have. Kamppi with the Eugene Fire Department also says it was the right thing to do.

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