Maryland's current Safe Haven law allows parents or caregivers to relinquish an infant up to ten days of age to a first responder or hospital without fear of prosecution for abandonment.
This law has saved countless newborns from abuse, neglect, and/or murder. However, this law as it stands today fails to protect some of our state's most vulnerable citizens. Just as an infant is incapable of protecting themselves from harm so are those with special needs.
I propose Maryland's current Safe Haven law be amended to include vulnerable individuals of any age with special needs who are relinquished by their parent(s) or caregiver(s) to a first responder or hospital.
This amended law would give parents and caregivers who are at the end of their rope and seriously considering hurting a vulnerable individual a safer, loving alternative.
I propose this ammendment in memory of the shocking number of individuals with special needs who have been abused, neglected, and/or murdered by those they should have been able to trust the most. Just this week in Michigan a mother was charged in an unsuccessful murder/ suicide of her fourteen year old daughter diagnosed with severe autism. An amended Safe Haven law in her state may have prevented this heinous crime.
My hope is that Maryland will lead by example and show the great need to amend all the state's Safe Haven laws.