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S.27

AN ACT RELATING TO A SAFE HAVEN DEFENSE TO THE CRIME OF ABANDONING A BABY

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  SHORT TITLE

This act shall be known as the “Baby Safe Haven Law.”

Sec. 2.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT

It is the intent of the General Assembly that this act provide a procedure which ensures the safety and well-being of newborns and infants.  The General Assembly recognizes that it is preferable for a wide array of services to be available to all expectant mothers, and to newborn infants and their mothers. The procedure established in this act should be considered a safeguard that will be followed only in extraordinary circumstances.

Sec. 3.  13 V.S.A. § 1303 is amended to read:

§ 1303.  ABANDONMENT OR EXPOSURE OF BABY

(a)  A person who abandons or exposes a child under the age of two years, whereby the life or health of such child is endangered, shall be imprisoned not more than ten years or fined not more than $1,000.00 $10,000.00, or both.

(b)(1)  It is not a violation of this section if the person voluntarily delivers a child not more than 30 days of age to:

(A)  An employee, staff member, or volunteer at a health care facility.

(B)  An employee, staff member, or volunteer at a fire station, police station, or church which is being attended by a person.

(C)  A 911 emergency responder at a location where the responder and the person have agreed to transfer the child.

(2)  A person voluntarily delivering a child under this subsection shall not be required to reveal any personally identifiable information, but may be offered the opportunity to provide information concerning the child’s or family’s medical history.

(3)  A person or facility to whom a child is delivered pursuant to this subsection shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for any action taken pursuant to this subsection.

(4)  A health care facility, fire station, police station, church, or 911 emergency responder to whom a child is delivered pursuant to this subsection shall:

(A)  Take temporary custody of the child and ensure that he or she receives any necessary medical care.

(B)  Provide notice that he, she, or it has taken temporary custody of the child to a law enforcement agency.

(C)  Provide notice that he, she, or it has taken temporary custody of the child to the department for children and family services, which shall take custody of the child as soon as practicable.

(5)  The department for children and family services shall develop and implement a public information program to increase public awareness about the provisions of the Baby Safe Haven Law, and shall report on the elements and status of the program by January 15, 2006, to the chairs of the senate committee on health and welfare and the house committee on human services.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us