Since 2000, South Carolina’s Daniel’s Law (The Safe Haven for Abandoned Babies Act) has allowed mothers to surrender their unharmed babies without fear of prosecution. In 2006 the law expanded its havens from just hospitals to include fire stations and places of worship. Daniel’s Law was named for an infant boy who survived being buried in a landfill shortly after birth. The law is intended to help save children by allowing mothers who find they cannot properly parent their children and wish to stay anonymous.
Just last week The Sumter Item reported the first incident of Daniel’s Law being used at a Sumter Station. It was 9:00 pm on a weeknight when a mother rang the doorbell to the fire station. Captain Joey Duggan tells us, “She had the infant in her arms and handed him to one of the firefighters. She said she couldn’t care for the child anymore, and she knew if she gave the child to a firefighter, it would be OK. She left the diaper bag there, turned around and walked away. The firefighter tried to get her to come back, but she kept walking and went on out. It was a real brief encounter.” Although the infant appeared to be healthy and well, the department followed protocol by transporting him to a nearby medical center by ambulance. He was checked out and found to be in good condition, then turned over to the Department of Social Services. He is now in foster care and expected to be available for adoption soon.
The day after surrendering her baby, the mother called the fire department with his vital information. And then, showing her love and concern for her child, the mother asked about his welfare.
Although it’s stated that Daniel’s Law only applies to children 30 days old and younger, the police department has stated that in this case, where the child is about 2 months old, no chargers will be pursued.