What are the Safe Haven laws in Kansas and Missouri?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Safe Haven for Newborn laws are in the spotlight right now for two reasons:

1.      Indiana’s controversial baby boxes.

Metal boxes mounted into the side of a building where a baby can be left. The boxes are temperature controlled, lock when closed and authorities are alerted when something is inside the box. Some believe this is a good way to allow for a woman to give up a baby without having to be face to face with someone when she does it. Some believe this option will save babies lives. Others think it’s not safe enough for the baby.

 

2.       Our 41 Action News story about Baby Mary Grace has run in cities across the country, been shared by many online, including Nightly News, the Today Show, and now People Magazine.

With so much focus on safe havens, here’s a refresher on the current laws in Kansas and Missouri.

The local Kansas City metro resource for Safe Havens for Newborns is the Mother and Child Health Coalition.

In Kansas and Missouri a parent can relinquish their rights to any baby up to age 45 days. If there are no signs of abuse and the baby is handed to a person at an approved location, the parent does not have to answer any questions and cannot be prosecuted.

The approved locations are:

For Kansas

  • Hospitals
  • Fire stations
  • Police stations
  • City and county health departments

For Missouri

  • Hospitals
  • Ambulance stations
  • Fire stations
  • Police stations
  • Pregnancy resource centers
  • Maternity homes

A person can call 211 for help assisting with questions or assistance involving Safe Havens for Newborns.

 

(Note: Many people understandably confuse “Safe Havens for Newborns” with QuikTrip’s “Safe Place” partnership. QuikTrip locations have a “Safe Place” program for at-risk youth who are homeless, being abused, or for whatever reason need assistance. QuikTrip is NOT a location where a mother can relinquish her baby. Here’s more information on QuikTrip’s program.)

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