For urgent crisis support, please contact the National Safe Haven Alliance at 1-888-510-BABY (2229).
In Virginia, Safe Haven laws allow a parent to safely surrender their unharmed infant who is 30 days old or younger to a staff member at a designated Safe Haven location (see list below) or a newborn safety device may be utilized if located at and operated by a designated Safe Haven location.
The law provides protection from criminal and civil liability in certain criminal prosecutions and civil proceedings for parents who safely surrender their infants. The law allows a parent to claim an affirmative defense to prosecution if the prosecution is based solely on the parent having left the infant at a designated Safe Haven location within the first 30 days of the infant’s life. For the affirmative defense to apply, the infant must be delivered in a manner reasonably calculated to ensure the infant’s safety.
Designated Safe Haven Locations in Virginia:
- A hospital that provides 24-hour emergency services.
- An attended Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency that employs emergency medical personnel, such as some fire stations or rescue squads.
- A newborn safety device located at and operated by such hospital or emergency medical services agency.
For a parent seeking to voluntarily surrender their infant:
- You have options! The National Safe Haven Alliance (NSHA) can help you determine which choice is the best for you and your infant. Call their 24/7 crisis hotline at 1-888-510-BABY (2229).
- If surrendering at time of delivery, anonymity cannot be guaranteed. Ask hospital staff about private agency adoption options.
For fathers and paternal family members:
- For local resources and supportive services, contact your local department of social services.
- 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.
For Safe Haven providers (Hospital and EMS staff):
All 50 States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico have enacted Safe Haven legislation. Each state has its own unique Safe Haven law. While each law has similar components, the age and location restrictions differ per state. The name of the Safe Haven laws also differs per state. To learn more about a specific state's requirements and approved Safe Haven locations, click here.