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      CHC 1151     


Art. 1151. Relinquishment of infants; defense to prosecution

            A.(1) If a parent wishes to relinquish his infant, he may leave the infant in the care of any employee of a designated emergency care facility or in a newborn safety device that meets the specifications provided in Subparagraph (2) of this Paragraph and is physically located inside of a facility which is licensed as a hospital in accordance with the Hospital Licensing Law, R.S. 40:2100 et seq., and has an emergency department that is staffed twenty-four hours per day.

            (2) Each newborn safety device shall meet all of the following specifications:

            (a) The device has been voluntarily installed by the designated emergency care facility.

            (b) The device is installed in a location that ensures the anonymity of the relinquishing parent and has a climate-controlled environment.

            (c) The device is installed by a licensed contractor.

            (d) The access door to the device locks automatically upon closure when a newborn is in the device.

            (e) The supporting frame of the device is anchored so as to align the bed portion of the device directly beneath the access door and prevent movement of the unit as a whole.

            (f) The device features a safe sleep environment which includes a firm, flat bassinet mattress and a sheet that fits snugly on and overlaps the mattress and is free of pillows, bumpers, blankets, and other bedding.

            (3) Each designated emergency care facility that installs a newborn safety device shall post department-approved signage at the site of the device that clearly identifies the device and provides both written and pictorial instruction to the relinquishing parent to open the access door, place the infant inside the device, and close the access door to engage the lock. The signage shall also clearly indicate all of the following:

            (a) The maximum age of an infant who may be relinquished in accordance with this Chapter.

            (b) That the child must not have been previously subjected to abuse or neglect.

            (c) That by placing an infant in the newborn safety device, a parent is foregoing all parental responsibilities with respect to the infant and is giving consent for the state to take custody of the infant.

            B. If the parent is unable to travel to a designated emergency care facility, he may call "911", and a firefighter, a law enforcement officer, or an emergency medical service provider shall immediately be dispatched to meet the parent and transport the child to a hospital, and to ensure that all requirements listed in Article 1152(D) through (I) have been met.

            C. Relinquishment of an infant in accordance with this Chapter is not a criminal act of neglect, abandonment, cruelty, or a crime against the child.

            Acts 2003, No. 609, §2; Acts 2018, No. 134, §1; Acts 2021, No. 421, §1.

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