Safe haven provisions expanded

Lawmakers passed a bill April 11 to expand safe haven provisions for Nebraska infants.

Sen. Rick Holdcroft
Sen. Rick Holdcroft

Current state law allows for the surrendering of infants 30 days or younger in person at a hospital. LB876, sponsored by Bellevue Sen. Rick Holdcroft, raises the age to 90 days and provides additional options for a parent or a person acting on the parent’s behalf to voluntarily release custody of an infant.

In addition to hospitals, the bill allows a parent or designee to surrender physical custody to an emergency care provider or at a fire or police station that is staffed 24 hours a day. No individual can be prosecuted solely for the act of surrendering a newborn under the bill’s provisions.

LB876 also appropriates $65,000 to the state Department of Health and Human Services in fiscal year 2024-25 and $10,000 in FY2025-26 to develop, implement and maintain a public information program regarding the bill’s provisions.

Senators voted 47-0 to pass the bill.

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