Kelly - posted on 03/31/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )
Most states have Safe Haven laws that allow mothers to abandon their unwanted children in a police station, fire station, EMS station, or church (if staffed), no questions asked within 30 days of the birth.
After 30 days, you can still relinquish custody to the foster system, or place the child up for adoption, but you have to fill out some forms. The process is free for the abandoning mother.
My state wants to pass a bill that would expand our Safe Haven laws to allow mothers to abandon their unwanted children in the above locations, no questions asked withing 3 Years of the birth. So a mother could legally drop her 2 1/2 yr old off, no questions asked.
Here is a link to the story in our local news:
And the article:
Columbia, SC --
A bill that would expand South Carolina's safe haven law for newborns is getting some opposition in a House panel working on the bill.
Right now, state law allows a parent to safely abandon a newborn up to 30 days old at a hospital, fire or EMS station, law enforcement agency or house of worship that is staffed. As long as the baby shows no signs of abuse or neglect, the parent cannot be punished. The baby must be left in an employee's hands.
The bill would expand the age up to children under the age of three and would add to the list of safe havens a staffed local or state office of the Department of Social Services.
The current law is called Daniel's Law, after a baby boy who was buried in a landfill shortly after birth and survived. Nurses named him Daniel.
Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, is the main sponsor of the bill. He says the Susan Smith and Shaquan Duley cases prompted it. Smith is in state prison for killing her two young sons, Michael and Alex, in 1994.
Duley is an Orangeburg mother who confessed to suffocating her 2-year-old and 18-month-old sons, strapping them into their car seats and letting the car roll into a river last year.
"In both of these cases, had our law, our proposed law been in effect, a lot of this may have been averted," Limehouse says. "We want them to drop them off and not murder them. That's pretty simple."
But the bill is far from a sure thing. At a subcommittee meeting Thursday, some House members expressed concern that no other state's safe haven law allows for children up to the age of three to be abandoned.
49 states and Puerto Rico have safe haven laws. Most apply to newborns 30 days old or younger. Missouri and North Dakota allow for the oldest children, both allowing a parent to abandon a child no more than one year old.
Rep. David Weeks, D-Sumter, says the Smith and Duley cases are bad examples on which to base this bill. "In both of those instances, those parents had an opportunity to leave those children with other family members, go down to DSS, go down to the police department, go down to a hospital and say 'I don't want these children'", he says, adding that parents can already put older children up for adoption.
Since there are concerns about the bill, the subcommittee did not pass it but agreed to work on it at later meetings, possibly as early as next week.
According to the state Department of Social Services, since 2006, eleven babies have been abandoned under Daniel's Law.
How do you feel about the age limits? Is 30 days enough time for a woman to decide if she wants to raise the child or not, or realize she has her own issues to overcome and needs to give the baby up for it's own safety? Do you think 3 years is too old? Could that lead to detachment disorders?