New safe haven search tool designed to save lives of Louisiana babies

New safe haven search tool designed to save lives of Louisiana babies

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana's Safe Haven law provides safe, legal means to give up a child in the case of last resort.

Children up to the age of 60 days can be given to designated emergency care facilities, which include licensed hospitals, public health units, emergency medical providers, medical clinics, fire or police stations, pregnancy care centers or child advocacy centers.

The parent is protected under law, as long as the child is in good health with no history of abuse or neglect.

In order to create easier access to this legal resource and prevent child abandonment, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has created an online tool, which can be used by families to locate Safe Haven locations.

Parents can find the director on the Safe Haven page at LouisianaSafeHaven.com. By entering a zip code, users can find Safe Haven location's in their area.

DCFS hopes this directory tool will help prevent child deaths due to abandonment and help parents better utilize the Safe Haven Law.

According to DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters, "We want to make it as easy as possible for parents of newborns to find Safe Haven location if they need one. Abandoning a baby is never the answer."

Under the Safe Haven law, parents who give their child directly to a Safe Haven location employee, stating they want to use the Safe Haven Law, will not be considered guilty of criminal neglect, child cruelty, or abandonment.

Parents must hand their child to an employee, as leaving a child without adult care, even in front of a Safe Haven location, is dangerous. Parents who cannot make it to a Safe Haven location can call 911, who will take the child on the parent's behalf.

The child will then receive a medical examination, and parents will be given a number (1-800-CHILDREN or 1-800-244-5357) to call in order to receive information about the child's medical and genetic background.

Safe Haven saves lives; 52 infants have been saved under the Safe Haven law in the past 13 years. If you or someone you know would like to use the Safe Haven law, please visit LouisianaSafeHaven.com and use the facility locator search tool.