Section 63-7-40 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amend, provides distressed young women and men an opportunity to surrender a new born child without being prosecuted for abandoning the child.
The above section provides that a person who leaves an infant at a safe haven or directs another person to do so must not be prosecuted for any criminal offense on account of such action if:
(1) the person is a parent of the infant or is acting at the direction of a parent;
(2) the person leaves the infant in the physical custody of a staff member or an employee of the safe haven; and
(3) the infant is not more than thirty days old or the infant is reasonably determined by the hospital or hospital outpatient facility to be not more than thirty days old.
Safe haven as defined by statute means a hospital or hospital outpatient facility, a law enforcement agency, a fire station, an emergency medical services station, or any staffed house of worship during hours when the facility is staffed.
Please note that you must leave the child with a staff member or an employee of the safe haven and no one else. Please also note that this law protects you from prosecution for leaving the child as outlined above; it does not protect your from any other abuse or neglect that may have occurred to the child prior to you surrendering the child.
Surrendering your child is conclusive evidence that the legal requirements for terminating your parental rights have been satisfied, and you essentially lose all your parental rights. This only applies to the person who left the child at the safe haven or the person who instructed someone else to do so for her.
South Carolina Department of Social Services provides a brochure concerning Daniel’s Law at https://dss.sc.gov/content/library/forms/files/2493.pdf. This brochure provides another explanation of Daniel’s Law.
Remember you are protected if you follow the law when surrendering your child; if you do not follow the law then you forgo your statutory protection.