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Police remind Utahns about Safe Haven law after mom drops baby off at SLC home

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Posted at 9:07 PM, Jun 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-06 12:39:39-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Police are encouraging struggling parents to take advantage of the resources available to them after a woman dropped her baby off with an acquaintance and asked them to care for the child.

Police were called to a home in Sugar House Sunday night after a couple called to report a baby, about 3-months-old, had been left in their care unexpectedly.

“We actually had a mother drop off her child, about 3 months old, to another family that is an associate of this female,” said Sgt. Robin Heiden of the Salt Lake City Police Department. “The people who were given the baby aren’t quite sure who she is, they haven’t known her very long, but she is an associate of theirs.”

That couple called police, and Heiden said they are trying to locate the mother so they can talk to her about what happened. She said it is unlikely charges will be filed.

“The child seems to be in good condition, and at this point we don’t see any charges,” Heiden said. “There are resources for this, if somebody finds themselves in a situation where they can’t take care of their child, you can drop the child off at a hospital.”

Utah’s Safe Haven Law protects mothers from repercussions if they surrender a baby. However, the child must be dropped off through proper channels, ideally a hospital that is open 24/7. Click here for a list of participating hospitals in Utah. 

Information and support are also available via phone at 1(866)-458-0058 and by email at utahnewbornsafehaven@gmail.com

“To go and give [the baby] to another family is just not the process that we want you to go through, and the state of Utah says you can’t do that, so we suggest you go to a hospital,” Heiden said.

Heiden said they know who the mother is and want to locate her, so they can let her know about the various resources that could help her either care for the child or surrender custody of the child in a legal and safe fashion.

She said those resources are available to anyone, and they urge parents in distress to pursue those methods rather than give a child over to someone else.

“Always give us a call, always reach out to the authorities for help first before doing something like this, because there are things that we can do, and there are resources that can help you,” Heiden said.

Utah Division of Child and Family services responded, and Heiden said they would assess the situation and determine how to proceed. She said it was likely the child would be given over to DCFS custody for the time-being.