Oregon Safe Haven Laws

In Oregon, a parent may leave an infant not older than 30 days at an authorized facility in the physical custody of an agent, employee, physician or other medical professional working at the facility.  However, the child should not be subject to abuse prior to relinquishment.[i]  “Authorized facility” means a hospital, freestanding birthing center, physician’s office, sheriff’s office, police station or fire station.[ii]

An agent, employee, physician or other medical professional working at an authorized facility shall receive an infant left at the facility. [iii]  Parents relinquishing their infant have the right to remain anonymous.  They are not required to provide any identifying information about the infant or the parent. [iv]

Within 24 hours of receiving an abandoned infant, the authorized facility shall notify the Department of Human Services that an infant has been left at the facility.  A relinquished infant is deemed abandoned for purposes of ORS 419B.100 (dealing with jurisdiction).  The Department is deemed to have protective custody of the infant from the moment the infant was left at the facility.  The Department shall comply with the applicable provisions of ORS chapter 419B (dealing with dependency of juveniles) with regard to the infant.[v]

The authorized facility shall release the infant to the Department at an appropriate time considering the infant’s medical condition.  The facility shall also transfer to the Department all available information regarding the infant.[vi]

The Department of Human Services shall inform the public about the provisions relating to the safe abandonment of newborns and the protections offered to the relinquishing parent.  The Department may accept gifts, grants or contributions from any public or private source to make the public aware of the provisions relating to safe abandonment.  Moneys accepted shall be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of the Department, and shall be dispensed to meet expenses incurred by the Department.[vii]

An authorized facility, and any agent, employee, physician or other medical professional working at the authorized facility, receiving the infant in good faith are immune from any criminal or civil liability that otherwise might result from their actions relating to receiving the infant.  A city, county or other political subdivision of the state that operates a sheriff’s office, police station or fire station receiving an infant in good faith is also immune from any criminal or civil liability that otherwise might result from the actions taken by its employees or agents in receiving the infant.[viii]  It is an affirmative defense to a charge relating to the abandonment of a child that the child was left in accordance with the Act.  Any person surrendering a child according to the Act may raise the defense.[ix]

[i] ORS § 418.017(i)

[ii] ORS § 418.017(7)(b)

[iii] ORS § 418.017(3)

[iv] ORS § 418.017(2)

[v] ORS § 418.017(5)

[vi] ORS § 418.017(6)

[vii] ORS § 418.018

[viii] ORS § 418.017(4)

[ix] ORS § 163.535


Inside Oregon Safe Haven Laws