Mississippi Safe Haven Laws

In Mississippi, an emergency medical services provider shall take possession of a child not older than 72 hours without a court order if the child is voluntarily delivered to the provider by its parent with intent not to return for the child.[i] Emergency medical services provider means a licensed hospital operating an emergency department or an adoption agency licensed by the Department of Human Services.  Miss. Code Ann. § 43-15-207 specifically states:

an emergency medical services provider shall mean a licensed hospital, as defined in Section 41-9-3, which operates an emergency department or an adoption agency duly licensed by the Department of Human Services. An emergency medical services provider does not include the offices, clinics, surgeries or treatment facilities of private physicians or dentists. No individual licensed healthcare provider, including physicians, dentists, nurses, physician assistants or other health professionals shall be deemed to be an emergency medical services provider under this article unless such individual voluntarily assumes responsibility for the custody of the child.

An emergency medical services provider taking possession of a child shall perform any act necessary to protect the physical health or safety of the child.[ii] The provider shall also notify the Department of Human Services that a child has been taken into custody not later than the first business day after the date on which the provider takes possession of the newborn.[iii] The Department shall assume the care, control and custody of the child immediately on receipt of notice.  The Department shall also be responsible for all medical and other costs associated with the child.  It shall reimburse the hospital for any costs incurred in relation to the custody of the child prior to the child being placed in the care of the Department. [iv]

An affirmative defense to prosecution for the crime of child abandonment may be raised if the parent voluntarily surrenders an unharmed child according to the Safe Haven laws.[v]

A person or entity taking possession of a child shall be immune from any civil action arising out of any act or omission resulting from taking possession of the child.  However, they cannot claim immunity if the act or omission was due to the person’s or entity’s gross negligence or willful misconduct.[vi]

[ii] Miss. Code Ann. § 43-15-201(2)

[iii] Miss. Code Ann. § 43-15-203(1)

[iv] Miss. Code Ann. § 43-15-203(2)

[v] Miss. Code Ann. § 43-15-205

[vi] Miss. Code Ann. § 43-15-209


Inside Mississippi Safe Haven Laws