Where are "safe places?"
In Kentucky, you may leave a newborn baby with:
- A hospital emergency room staff person;
- An officer at a police station;
- A firefighter at a fire station;
- An emergency medical services provider; or
- Someone at a staffed place of worship.
What does the law do?
The new law saves babies -- and protects parents who can't keep their babies.
The law says that a parent will not be criminally prosecuted for abandoning a baby (thirty (30) days old or younger), if the baby is taken to a safe place and has not been physically abused or neglected after birth. If you are currently pregnant or recently gave birth and need help, call the crisis line at 877-796-HOPE (4673) - provided by the AMT Children of Hope Foundation.
What happens at a safe place?
A police officer, firefighter, emergency services provider or staff member at a participating place of worship will arrange to have your baby taken to the nearest hospital for an examination and any needed medical care. The hospital will also notify the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the agency responsible for ensuring that the baby is adopted.
What can you do to help your baby?
You can fill out a form to give medical information about your baby. The information will help make it easier to provide medical care for the baby. You can fill out the form when you leave the baby at a safe place, or you can take the form and return it by mail.
You do not have to put your name on the form, and all the information you provide will be confidential.
What are your rights as a parent?
If you do not contact the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services within 30 days after leaving your baby in a safe place, the cabinet will begin the process of ending your parental rights. This process, called involuntary termination of parental rights, is permanent, and means that the cabinet will ask a judge to remove any rights that you and the baby's other parent have to the baby. Once parental rights have been ended, the cabinet can begin to make arrangements for the baby's adoption.
If you decide that you want your baby back within 30 days after leaving the baby in a safe place, call: 877-597-2331 (877-KYSAFE1).
If you decide to keep your baby, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services offers services that help families stay together and safe:
- Referrals to needed services such as housing assistance, parenting skills or counseling
- Food stamps
- Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP)
- Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program (KCHIP)
- Child-care assistance
- Help with getting child support
- Adoption information
Every child deserves a safe, loving, permanent home. You can help provide such a home by planning for adoption before your baby is born.
You can work with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which carefully evaluates and checks backgrounds on all prospective parents before they are approved to adopt children. Or you can contact a private agency about placing your baby for adoption.
For more information, call: (502) 564-2136