Safe Haven signs alert distressed mothers of newborns under new Georgia laws


Elizabeth Tammi

In the Peyton Anderson Education Center at Navicent Health in Macon, Ga., mandatory signs designate the site as a safe place to leave newborns under the Georgia Safe Place for Newborns Act.

When visitors walk into any building across all of Navicent Health’s campuses, they will pass signs that designate the facility as a Safe Haven site.

These signs were placed recently under a revision to the Safe Haven law that requires health care facilities to post them, according to Dr. Patrice Walker of Navicent Health.

“They made this revision because they wanted to make sure that people actually know where they can go (for help),” Walker said. “It’s brought awareness to the situation, in general.”

Under Georgia’s Safe Haven law, if a mother feels that her child is unsafe or unable to be cared for, she has up to 30 days to drop off a newborn at a medical facility, fire station or police department. Under the law, a mother can avoid prosecution for abandonment of her child. The baby must be given to an employee or volunteer at the facility.

“Those people are instructed to take the baby to the emergency room,” Walker said. “The first thing you want to do is make sure the baby is healthy.”

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