Abandoning a child is not an option

April 6, 2006

ATLANTA (GA) – Regardless of the situation, abandoning a child is never an option. In 2002, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation to protect children and prevent child abandonment, known as the Safe Place for Newborns Act. April is Child Abuse Awareness Month in Georgia and the Department of Human Resources (DHR) urges mothers not resort to the drastic and criminal action of abandoning a newborn child.

Since 2002, over 300 Georgia children have been saved from abandonment thanks to the Safe Place for Newborns Act and this also helps to preserve the health and future of their mothers. Under this act a mother may leave her baby, up to 7 days old, at any hospital or medical center without fear of prosecution. A medical facility would include any licensed hospital, county health center or a licensed birthing center. A medical facility does not include a private doctor’s office or a dentist. Police and Fire stations are not included under the provisions of the Safe Place for Newborns Act.

It is important to understand that this law requires that the newborn must be left in the physical custody of an on-duty employee, agent or member of the staff of a medical facility. This person may be either in a paid or a volunteer position with the facility. The mother is also asked to provide her name and address to the person receiving the child.

DHR is responsible for reimbursing the medical facility for all reasonable medical and other reasonable costs associated with the child prior to the child's placement in the care of the department.

If you suspect a child is in danger call 404-651-9361 or your local DFCS office for additional information.

For information, contact:
Ari Young; 404-657-1387