Washington State has a ‘safe haven’ law titled “Safety of Newborn Children”. The law allows mothers and fathers to leave their newborn baby, up to three (3) days old (72-hours old or younger), with a staff member or at any hospital emergency room, fire station, or rural health clinic. The purpose of this law is to protect infants from abandonment and also to protect the parents from arrest or prosecution for abandonment, as long as there has been no abuse or neglect.
Three of the District’s fire stations are considered “Safe Haven” locations provided a qualified person is present. A newborn may not be left when crews are away from the station, or when no qualified person is present:
* Station 92 - 31709 Kent Black Diamond Rd, Auburn, WA 98092 * Station 96 - 17920 SE 400th St, Auburn, WA 98092 * Station 98 - 22015 SE 296th St, Black Diamond, WA 98010
If the parent leaves their infant with a “qualified person” at one of the above fire stations, the parent need not worry about possible prosecution. Qualified Person Definition – for the purposes of the law, refers to any person that is reasonably assumed to be a firefighter, volunteer, or emergency medical technician, located at one of the above listed fire stations.
The law is designed to save the lives of newborns in danger of abandonment. The newborn will receive appropriate medical care and be placed in a foster home. The parent may choose to remain anonymous. The parent, if willing, will provide a family medical history, and is given information regarding options for their own medical care and counseling.
For more information visit: https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=13.34.360 Reference: RCW 13.34.360, Transfer of Newborn to Qualified Person