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Oklahoma Safe Haven Laws

A medical services provider or child rescuer may take possession of a child not older than seven days without a court order if the child is voluntarily surrendered to such entity by its parent with intent not to return for the child.[i] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(G) specifically defines the term “medical services provider” and “child rescuer” as:

1. “Medical services provider” means a person authorized to practice the healing arts, including a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner, a registered or practical nurse and a nurse aide; and

2. “Child rescuer” means any employee or other designated person on duty at a police station, fire station, child protective services agency, hospital, or other medical facility.

Any entity taking possession of the child may request the parent to disclose information relating to the identity and medical history of the child.  However, the parents may not be compelled to disclose any information.  They have the right to remain anonymous.[ii]

The entity accepting custody of the child shall:

a)     provide the parent with information regarding parental rights; reunification with child; and counseling services available.[iii]

b)     perform acts necessary to protect the physical health or safety of the child.[iv]

c)     notify the local office of the Department of Human Services that an infant has been taken into custody.[v]

Upon receiving notification, the Department shall immediately contact the law enforcement authorities and determine if the relinquished child has been reported as a missing child.[vi]

The Department has the responsibility of designing and circulating:[vii]

a)     a simplified form for recording medical or any other information disclosed voluntarily by the relinquishing parent.

b)     printed materials that give information about the parent’s rights with regard to reunification with the child; entities to be contacted in case of reunification; and counseling services available to the parents.

c)     media information and printed materials to create public awareness of the safe haven laws.

A medical services provider or child rescuer receiving a relinquished infant in good faith is immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise result from the entity’s actions.[viii]  A parent shall not be prosecuted for child abandonment or child neglect under any statute which makes child abandonment or child neglect a crime if the prosecution is solely based on the relinquishment of a child not more than a week old to a medical services provider or a child rescuer.[ix]

[i] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(B)

[ii] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(C)(1)

[iii] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(C)(2)

[iv] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(D)(1)

[v] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(D)(2)

[vi] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(E)

[vii] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(F)

[viii] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(H)

[ix] 10A Sec. 1-2-109(A)

Inside Oklahoma Safe Haven Laws