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BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has partnered with the National Safe Haven Alliance (NSHA) to offer a 24/7 hotline staffed by highly trained crisis response experts using a holistic approach to help parents who are considering relinquishing their baby under Louisiana’s Safe Haven Law.
The NSHA’s 24/7 Crisis Hotline – available by calling 1-888-510-BABY (1-888-510-2229) or texting SAFEHAVEN to 313131 – is staffed with a crisis response team comprised of nurses and social workers with expertise in Safe Haven relinquishments, including the requirements of Louisiana’s law. All calls are confidential, unless the parent wishes for their identifying information to be known.
Louisiana’s Safe Haven Law provides a safe, legal, last resort to abandonment, allowing a parent to give up custody of a newborn up to 60 days old by bringing the baby to an emergency designated facility, or Safe Haven site. As long as the parent leaves their baby with an employee and the baby shows no signs of abuse or neglect, the parent can walk away knowing that their baby will be safe. The relinquishing parent may also call 911, allowing the parent to relinquish a baby to an emergency responder in a location chosen by the parent.
The NSHA crisis response team uses a three-tiered approach to walk callers through their options – including parenting, adoption and relinquishment – and establish a plan to fit their needs. New parents may believe they are unable to parent their child due to extenuating circumstances. NSHA’s experts can help callers navigate those challenges and prepare for parenthood or, if desired, connect them with adoption providers within the state. If neither parenting nor adoption is an option, the team can help the parent prepare for a safe and legal relinquishment of the baby to an authorized Safe Haven site employee.
For more information about Louisiana’s Safe Haven law, or to search a directory of Safe Haven sites in the state, visit www.LouisianaSafeHaven.com.
For information about the National Safe Haven Alliance and its 24/7 Crisis Hotline, visit www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org.