SB 0687 Protects a parent from liability for relinquishing custody of a newborn to a hospital
Sponsor:Gibbons Co-Sponsor(s)
LR Number:2635S.03P Fiscal Note:2635-03
Committee:Aging, Families and Mental Health
Last Action:05/07/02 - HCS Voted Do Pass H Children, Families & Health Journal page:
Title:SS SB 687
Effective Date:August 28, 2002
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Current Bill Summary

HCS/SS/SB 687 - This act modifies provisions relating to child abandonment.

A technical change is made to a USC cite in Section 192.016. In addition a new section creates the "Safe Place for Newborns Act of 2002". A parent will not be prosecuted for the abandonment of a child up to five days old and a parent will have an affirmative defense to prosecution for the abandonment of a child between six and thirty days old if he or she leaves the child with any of the following:

- In the custody of a medical facility staff member, provider, or volunteer; A firefighter or emergency medical technician; or A law enforcement officer.

The child may be no more than thirty days old and may not have been physically abused or neglected by the parent.

The person with whom the child is left must take physical custody of the child and, if the child is not initially delivered to a medical facility, such person must do so. The medical facility must provide necessary treatment to protect the child's health or safety and must notify the Division of Family Services (DFS) and local juvenile officer. Upon notification, the juvenile officer must follow appropriate procedures for the child to be made a ward of the court and for DFS to take custody of the child. The parent's delivery of the child shall constitute implied consent to relinquishment of his or her parental rights.

In a termination of parental rights proceeding, the juvenile officer must give public notice about the relinquishment of the child. The nonrelinquishing parent will have thirty days to respond and attempt to establish parental rights if the parent wishes to do so. The court must establish paternity or maternity, review the putative father registry, and notify the putative father, if identified. If a nonrelinquishing parent inquires of a medical facility at which a child is left, the facility shall refer the parent to DFS and the juvenile court.

Any authorized person who receives the child will not be liable if custody was taken in good faith without negligence. The Division must provide a toll-free telephone number and other information to inform the public about this process. This act shall not conflict with Section 210.125, RSMo (Section 210.950).

This act is substantially similar to HB 1443 (2002).