In Virginia, Safe Haven laws allow a parent to remain anonymous and be shielded from criminal and civil liability and prosecution for child endangerment, abandonment, or neglect in exchange for safely relinquishing their baby within 30 days of the child's birth, to a designated safe haven location. Safe haven locations are identified as (1) a hospital that provides 24-hour emergency services, (2) an attended Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency such as fire stations or rescue squads, or (3) a newborn safety device located at and operated by such hospital or emergency medical services agency. Additionally, the Commonwealth's Safe Haven laws provide hospital and emergency medical services personnel civil and criminal immunity for injury or other damages to the infant unless such injury or other damage to the infant was the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct by such personnel.
For urgent crisis support, please contact the National Safe Haven Alliance at 1-888-510-BABY (2229).
24-HOUR Safe Haven Locations:
- Hospital (that provides 24-hour emergency services)
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency such as fire stations or rescue squads (must be open and staffed)
- Newborn safety device located at and operated by such hospital or emergency medical services agency
Virginia Code References:
National Resources:National Safe Haven Alliance
Family Resources in Virginia:2-1-1 Virginia
Provides information and referrals for food, shelter, rent, utility assistance, physical and mental health resources, work initiatives, support for children, youth, and families, disaster support services and more. https://www.dss.virginia.gov/community/211.cgi.
For further information, dial 2-1-1 or visit https://www.dss.virginia.gov/community/211.cgi.Benefits
For benefits assistance and employment services, visit https://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/.Child Support
For child support services, visit https://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/dcse/applying.cgi.Families Forward
If you want to speak with someone about parenting, call 1-800-CHILDREN or visit https://www.familiesforwardva.org/.Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia
For early intervention supports and services, visit https://www.itcva.online/.Licensed Child Placing Agencies
To search for a licensed child placing agency for adoption support, visit https://www.dss.virginia.gov/facility/search/cpa.cgi.Local Department of Social Services
For additional local resources and supportive services, visit https://www.dss.virginia.gov/localagency/index.cgi to receive the contact information for your local department of social services.Safe Sleep 365
When infants are sleeping, they should always be:
ALONE on his/her back, but within the same room as their caregiver
APART from toys, blankets, pillows or other objects to avoid suffocation, and
ALWAYS in a separate safe sleep space such as a crib or bassinet, a drug- and alcohol-free environment
For additional safe sleep, visit https://dss.virginia.gov/safe_sleep/.
To receive information relating to pregnancy resources, visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/pregnancy/resources/.
To receive information related to infant nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and supplemental nutritious foods, visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/wic/.Virginia Birth Father Registry
The Virginia Birth Father Registry (VBFR) is a confidential database maintained by the Virginia Department of Social Services that protects the rights of unmarried men (and their relatives) to children they may have (un)knowingly fathered. By voluntarily registering with VBFR within 10 days after a child's birth, a putative father can protect his rights to his child(ren) and be notified in the event his child is placed for adoption or placed into foster care. For more information on the VBFR, visit https://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/ap/vbfr.cgi.