TITLE 23
Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-13.1
The Safe Haven For Infants Act

SECTION 23-13.1-3


§ 23-13.1-3 Voluntary surrender of infant child.

(a) Every hospital, open medical emergency facility, fire station, or police station operating in the state of Rhode Island shall, without court order, take temporary physical custody of an infant, who appears to be age thirty (30) days or younger, who is voluntarily left with a staff member of the hospital, open medical emergency facility, fire station, or police station by any person who does not express an intent to return for the infant and the circumstances give rise to a reasonable belief that the person does not intend to return for the infant.

(b) The person leaving the infant may, but shall not be required to leave any information disclosing the identity of himself/herself, the infant, the parents of the infant or other family member of the infant and/or the medical history of himself/herself, the infant, the parents of the infant, or other family member of the infant. The hospital or other facility designated in this section shall offer the person leaving the infant written information concerning the legal effect of leaving the infant with the hospital or other facility designated in this section. The department of children, youth and families shall create this information and provide it at no charge to hospitals and other facilities designated in this section. Any information obtained by the hospital or other facility designated in this section from the person leaving the infant relating to the identity of the person, the infant, the parents of the infant or other family member of the infant shall be kept confidential by the hospital or other facility and shared with no one other than the director of the department of children, youth and families or his or her designee. However, if a court of competent jurisdiction determines that the immunity provisions of § 23-13.1-4 do not apply, the hospital or other facility where the infant was left must disclose the information relating to the identity of the person, the infant, the parents of the infant, or other family member of the infant to the department of attorney general upon order of the court. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent disclosing to medical care providers any information about the infant necessary to provide medical care or treatment to the infant.

(c) Nothing contained in this section shall preclude the department of children, youth and families from notifying law enforcement authorities of any criminal wrongdoing in accordance with §§ 11-9-5 and/or 40-11-5.

(d) The hospital or other facility with responsibility for performing duties under this chapter, and/or any employee, independent contractor, agent, doctor, other medical professional, law enforcement or fire official associated with the hospital or facility shall be immune from any criminal or civil liability arising from action(s) taken in accordance with this chapter including, but not limited to, determining the age of, receiving, examining or otherwise treating the infant. This immunity does not apply to acts or omissions constituting negligence or reckless, wanton or intentional misconduct.

(e) The hospital or other facility in this section performing duties under this chapter and/or any staff member, employee, independent contractor, agent, doctor, other medical professional, law enforcement or fire official associated with the hospital or facility shall be immune from any criminal or civil liability that otherwise might result from the failure to make a report under the provisions of chapter 11 of title 40 if the entity or person acted in good faith in complying with this section.

(f) Any hospital, medical facility or licensed physician, and its employees, independent contractors and agents, are authorized to provide to an infant left at a hospital or other facility in accordance with this chapter any medical care and treatment, including testing for the human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis, that the attending physician believes necessary for the infant's well-being.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2001, ch. 53, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 130, § 1.)