SC nearing highest recorded number of safely abandoned newborns in a calendar year

State News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — A state statute known as Daniel’s Law, allows mothers to safely abandon unharmed newborns in South Carolina.

Under the law, also known as SC Safe Haven for Abandoned Babies Act, mothers can surrender their infant at designated locations across the state sixty days after the baby is born.

According to the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS), five infants have been safely abandoned under Daniel’s Law in 2021. Their data, dating back to 2009, shows the most infants surrendered in a calendar year is 6. This happened in 2016 and 2019.

Communications and External Affairs Director Connelly-Anne Ragley said the agency works to spread awareness about the law.

She said, “We want to let parents know this is an option to safely abandon the baby if it has not been harmed in any way.”

DSS officials said the law was put in place in 2000 after a baby was found in a landfill in Allendale County. Nurses who helped the infant named him Daniel. The law is intended to save babies, not to hurt or punish anyone, DSS said.

Newborns can be left at a hospital, police, fire or EMS station, or a place of worship as long as there is staff there. The person leaving the child will not be charged if the baby is unharmed.

After the child is surrendered, Ragley said DSS will take custody of the infant. Officials will announce a family court hearing where they free the child for adoption.

Ragley said every safe abandonment means a newborn can live a happy and healthy life. “Those making this decision should be celebrated. Because they are making such a wise decision for themselves, for the child, the child’s future and for that family that will be able to adopt that child.”

Since 2009, DSS said 49 infants have been surrendered under Daniel’s Law.

For more information on Daniel’s Law and safe abandonment options click or tap here.

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