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State Safe Haven Laws

  • Emily M. Douglas
Chapter
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Abstract

Sometimes parents abandon or discard infants very early in life and this often leads to their death. Regardless of the circumstances, this is generally considered a form of neglect. The most universal response to this in the United States has been to pass “safe haven” laws—or laws that allow parents to legally relinquish infants in designated areas without any criminal consequence. Today, all states in the U.S. have safe haven laws. This chapter discusses the history, purpose, and use of these laws. The primary concerns of safe haven laws is that they are easy to pass and implement, but that they do not address unwanted pregnancies or help to support parents who may be feeling desperate enough to relinquish a child. Further, despite the options that they present to parents, there is no evidence to date that safe haven laws lead to fewer deaths of children.

Keywords

Child maltreatment fatalities Safe haven laws Abandoned infants Discarded infants 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily M. Douglas
    • 1
  1. 1.Bridgewater State UniversityBridgewaterUSA

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