A one-day-old black baby was safely surrendered to a Lowcountry, South Carolina hospital earlier this month under Daniel’s Law – a 2001 measure also known as the “Save Haven for Abandoned Babies Act.” Under this law, unharmed babies under the age of sixty days can be surrendered to local hospitals, police stations or other designated locations without their parents being prosecuted for child abandonment.
According to the S.C. Department of Social Services (SCDSS), the child was surrendered at the Summerville Medical Center in Dorchester County on June 2, 2022. The young lad weighed six pounds, eleven ounces and was 20.5 inches long.
After he was surrendered, Dorchester County DSS took custody of the baby and placed him in a foster home. He is the third infant to be surrendered under the law so far this year.
According to SCDSS officials, Daniel’s Law ”provides a safe, legal option to abandonment for babies up to sixty days old.” The law is named after a baby who miraculously survived despite being buried alive in a landfill less than thirty minutes after his birth.
The nurses who treated him during his recovery named him “Daniel.”
“Daniel’s Law is intended to save babies,” a statement from SCDSS noted. “It is not intended to hurt or punish anyone. It provides a safe option for mother and baby. They can give their child a chance at a happy, healthy life with a loving family.”
Here is some additional information from the agency regarding the law …
- The law applies to infants up to 60 days old.
- If the baby has been harmed in some way, the immunity from prosecution may not apply.
- A person who abandons a newborn cannot be prosecuted for abandonment if he or she takes the unharmed baby to staff or an employee of a Safe Haven. Safe Havens are defined as a hospital or hospital outpatient facility, law enforcement agencies, fire stations, emergency medical services (EMS) stations, or a house of worship during the time the church or synagogue is staffed. The receiving “safe haven” should complete this form.
- DSS will have legal custody of the child and will place the child in a foster home.
- DSS will immediately pursue family court action to free the child for adoption.
- The hospital will provide medical care and contact DSS.
- The person leaving the child will be asked to provide medical information about the baby’s parents and, if possible, the name of the baby’s parents. This will help the medical personnel treat the baby for any health problems.
- The person leaving the child does not have to reveal his or her identity.
Since 2009, more than fifty babies have been voluntarily surrendered under Daniel’s Law. As for the baby surrendered in Dorchester County, a hearing regarding his future will be held next month.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Buffalo Bisons’ lid pictured above).
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