Abandoned Infant Protection Act

There is a better way. If you feel like you may want to abandon your baby, know the law.

The purpose of the New York State (NYS) Abandoned Infant Protection Act (AIPA) is to protect newborn babies. It does this by protecting a parent who abandons a baby from criminal prosecution—if the person leaves the baby in a safe way—and by allowing the parent to remain anonymous. Here are some specifics of the law:

If you abandon your baby with the intent of giving up custody and responsibility for the baby, you will not be guilty of the crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child or the crime of Abandonment of a Child, if:

  • your intention is for the baby to be safe from physical injury and cared for appropriately; and
  • you leave the baby with an appropriate person or you leave the baby in a suitable location and promptly inform an appropriate person of the child’s location; and
  • the baby is not more than 30 days old.

The AIPA does not list “suitable locations” or “appropriate persons.” Local district attorneys make those determinations. However, places that are staffed, such as fire stations, police stations and hospitals, are usually considered to be safe places to leave a baby who is not more than 30 days old.

Information concerning the AIPA is available at the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) website in English and Spanish. Useful publications include the following. These publications are available in both English and Spanish:

  • Pregnant? Sacred? Need Help? Pub. 4745
  • The Abandoned Infant Protection Act: Guidelines for Health and Safety Professionals Pub. 4749

Public Service Announcements (PSAs) developed by NYS OCFS, both audio and video, in English and Spanish, are found here.

NYS Hotline: For information regarding the Abandoned Infant Protection Act, call toll free: 1-866-505-SAFE (7233). The NYS hotline is staffed around the clock, 365 days a year with trained operators who can: provide specific information about the law; refer callers to local hospitals, fire stations, and police stations; and refer callers to District Attorney and Social Services offices. Operators also can connect callers with crisis counseling services if necessary. The hotline, through an interpreter service, can communicate with callers in more than 150 languages.

Have you considered adoption?

  • If you think you cannot keep your newborn baby, please consider adoption.
  • Many families in NYS of all races, religions, ages, and lifestyles want to provide a child with a loving home.
  • You can request that an adoption be kept confidential, and that your family and friends not be told. You cannot be investigated by Child Protective Services for surrendering your baby for adoption.
  • You can give up your baby for adoption at a private adoption agency (an authorized voluntary agency) or at DSS. These agencies are listed in various directories and on the NYS OCFS website.