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13.34.350  <<  13.34.360 >>   13.34.370

RCW 13.34.360

Transfer of newborn to qualified person — Criminal liability — Notification to child protective services — Definitions.

(1) For purposes of this section:

     (a) "Appropriate location" means (i) the emergency department of a hospital licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW during the hours the hospital is in operation; (ii) a fire station during its hours of operation and while fire personnel are present; or (iii) a federally designated rural health clinic during its hours of operation.

     (b) "Newborn" means a live human being who is less than seventy-two hours old.

     (c) "Qualified person" means (i) any person that the parent transferring the newborn reasonably believes is a bona fide employee, volunteer, or medical staff member of the hospital or federally designated rural health clinic and who represents to the parent transferring the newborn that he or she can and will summon appropriate resources to meet the newborn's immediate needs; or (ii) a firefighter, volunteer, or emergency medical technician at a fire station who represents to the parent transferring the newborn that he or she can and will summon appropriate resources to meet the newborn's immediate needs.

     (2) A parent of a newborn who transfers the newborn to a qualified person at an appropriate location is not subject to criminal liability under RCW 9A.42.060, 9A.42.070, 9A.42.080, 26.20.030, or 26.20.035.

     (3)(a) The qualified person at an appropriate location shall not require the parent transferring the newborn to provide any identifying information in order to transfer the newborn.

     (b) The qualified person at an appropriate location shall attempt to protect the anonymity of the parent who transfers the newborn, while providing an opportunity for the parent to anonymously give the qualified person such information as the parent knows about the family medical history of the parents and the newborn. The qualified person at an appropriate location shall provide referral information about adoption options, counseling, appropriate medical and emotional aftercare services, domestic violence, and legal rights to the parent seeking to transfer the newborn.

     (c) If a parent of a newborn transfers the newborn to a qualified person at an appropriate location pursuant to this section, the qualified person shall cause child protective services to be notified within twenty-four hours after receipt of such a newborn. Child protective services shall assume custody of the newborn within twenty-four hours after receipt of notification.

     (d) A federally designated rural health clinic is not required to provide ongoing medical care of a transferred newborn beyond that already required by law and may transfer the newborn to a hospital licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW. The federally designated rural health clinic shall notify child protective services of the transfer of the newborn to the hospital.

     (e) A hospital, federally designated rural health clinic, or fire station, its employees, volunteers, and medical staff are immune from any criminal or civil liability for accepting or receiving a newborn under this section.

     (4)(a) Beginning July 1, 2011, an appropriate location shall post a sign indicating that the location is an appropriate place for the safe and legal transfer of a newborn.

     (b) To cover the costs of acquiring and placing signs, appropriate locations may accept nonpublic funds and donations.

[2009 c 290 § 1; 2002 c 331 § 2.]

Notes:

     Intent -- 2002 c 331: "The legislature intends to increase the likelihood that pregnant women will obtain adequate prenatal care and will provide their newborns with adequate health care during the first few days of their lives. The legislature recognizes that prenatal and postdelivery health care for newborns and their mothers is especially critical to their survival and well-being. The legislature does not intend to encourage the abandonment of newborn children nor to change existing law relating to notification to parents under chapter 13.34 RCW, but rather to assure that abandonment does not occur and that all newborns have an opportunity for adequate health care and a stable home life." [2002 c 331 § 1.]

     Effective date -- 2002 c 331: "Sections 1 through 7 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and take effect immediately [April 3, 2002]." [2002 c 331 § 9.]