Illinois' Safe Haven law gives parents a safe way to give up a newborn baby for adoption if they feel like they cannot handle the responsibility. You can leave your newborn baby with workers at a safe place with no questions asked if:
- The baby has not been hurt; and
- The baby is less than 30 days old.
Safe places are:
- Emergency Care Facilities
- Police Stations
- Fire Stations (Staffed)
In the case of older children (i.e. older than 30 days), the Safe Haven Law cannot be used. In order to give up older children, the parent (or parents) must follow the statutory adoption process, which is a more involved and formal process.
Terminally ill parent
A terminally ill parent may consent to something called standby adoption. A standby adoption becomes effective when the consenting parent of the child dies or that parent requests that the final judgment of adoption be entered.
Adoption vs. Safe Haven law
An adoption is a formal process, that can be done with the help of a public agency or privately. Depending on the child’s age, the child may have to agree to the adoption in certain adoption situations. You must go through a formal court process to terminate your parental responsibilities.
The Safe Haven law, on the other hand, applies to very specific situations, and the process of giving up a child under this law is generally anonymous, as long as there aren’t any signs that the child was abused or neglected by the parent.
When a parent gives up a child under the Safe Haven law, there is a presumption that the parent agrees to give up his or her parental rights over the child.