THE SAFE HAVEN for ABANDONED BABIES ACT
My internship is being done at the Orangeburg County Department of Social Services (DSS). The policy I will be referring to in this policy paper will be section 20-7-85, which is the safe haven for abandoned babies act. This act is better known by the name of Daniel's Law. Daniel's Law is relatively new policy at DSS and new law in South Carolina; it's designed to provide a safe haven for abandoned babies. Its name derives from a nurse whom cared for an infant boy, that she named "Daniel," as he recovered in the hospital. Daniel survived after being buried in a landfill soon after birth. Similar to Daniel, other babies are born to women in calamity. Some of these babies are left alone, abandoned by mothers who don't plan to return or provide for their care. Although abandoned babies have always been an issue in this country, states have criminal and child abuse laws to address it, this growing concern seems to branch from the realization that despite the existing legal framework that do prohibit leaving a baby unprotected and unsupervised, babies are still being abandoned and harmed and many even die. Beliefs are that this law is intended to save babies. It is not intended to hurt or punish anyone. It provides a safe option for mother and baby. This intent is to give parents an avenue to safely turn over their child to a third party, and that third party in turn turns it over to DSS in that County. Between 1999 and July 2001, 34 states, including South Carolina, passed "safe haven" laws. The legislation varies from state to state, but all have similar elements. South Carolina's law, effective June 6, 2000 named it "Daniel's law" after the fore mentioned case. The policy/law only applies to infant up to 30 days old. The policy states clearly that a person who abandons a newborn cannot be prosecuted for abandonment if he or she takes the unharmed infant to an employee...
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