Florida’s Surrendered Infant Law Gets a Big Heart: How HB 775 Benefits Mothers, Children, and Prospective Adoptive Families

Exciting news for Florida families! House Bill 775, taking effect July 1, 2024, brings significant changes to our state’s law regarding surrendered infants. At Tate Healey Webster, we applaud these advancements that prioritize the well-being of birth parents and children and are proud that lawmakers consulted with one of our attorneys, Jeanne T. Tate, in revising this law.

For over 20 years, Florida law has offered a safe and legal option for a birth parent to choose for their infant, instead of abandoning a baby in a dangerous situation. Specifically, a birth mother or birth father can choose to safely surrender their infant at designated locations including hospitals, emergency medical services stations, or fire stations in a confidential and safe manner. The birth parent’s identity remains anonymous, and the birth parent is protected from any legal repercussions as long as there is no actual or suspected child abuse or neglect. Upon the surrender of the child, the child is placed with an adoption entity who finds a loving home for the child with court approval. The birth parent has a statutory timeframe to change his or her mind and reclaim their surrendered infant, and once this waiting period is over, the child is adopted into an approved home. This law is often called the “Safe Haven Law.”

Previously, Florida’s Safe Haven Law allowed parents to anonymously surrender unharmed newborns up to 7 days old at these designated locations. HB 775 is expanding the statute’s vital protections in several key way which take effect on July 1:

  • Increased Age Limit: The new law extends the surrender window to 30 days old. This additional time allows parents facing difficult circumstances to make an informed decision with less pressure.
  • Hospital Surrenders: The legislation empowers mothers to confidentially surrender their newborns directly to hospital staff after delivery. This eliminates the need to leave the hospital with the baby, a significant benefit for mothers who may be experiencing emotional or physical recovery.
  • 911 Infant Safe Surrender: The new law  creates a new avenue for surrender by allowing parents to call 911 and request a meeting with an EMS provider for the purpose of relinquishing the infant. This removes transportation concerns and ensures a safe, confidential environment for surrender.

By providing more options and a longer window for surrender, we hope these changes will reduce infant abandonment, promote safe surrenders of infants, expand adoption opportunities, and reduce the burden on the foster care system.

Considering Safe Haven Surrender for your Infant?

If you are an expectant or new mother or father facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering Safe Haven surrender, we understand this is a difficult decision. Tate Healey Webster is here to provide compassionate legal guidance and ensure a safe and confidential surrender process under the new provisions of Florida’s Safe Haven Law. There are many considerations to make in this process, including whether you would like an Open Adoption or a Safe Haven Surrender.

Looking to Adopt a Surrendered Infant?

Tate Healey Webster has helped many families adopt infants who have been abandoned under the Safe Haven law. We can help you navigate the adoption process and ensure a smooth and successful journey towards parenthood.

Contact Us Today

At Tate Healey Webster, we are dedicated to supporting parents, children, and adoptive families throughout the adoption process.

For more information on Safe Haven surrenders or adoption, contact us today for a consultation.

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