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Toddler Abandoned: Georgia Safe Haven Law Doesn't Apply

The police are looking for the mother of an abandoned Stone Mountain toddler who is eighteen-months-old and was left with Stone Mountain Police, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

DeKalb Police were called in as well to help locate the parents of the toddler. In the meantime, the child was given over to the Department of Family and Child Services.

Georgia, like many other states out there, has a safe haven law for mothers that feel the need to give up their children.

Georgia's safe haven law can be found under Georgia Family Law Title 19 Section 19-10A-1 to 10A-7.

Called the Safe Place for Newborns Act of 2002, the law is intended to "prevent injuries to and deaths of newborn children that are caused by a mother who abandons the newborn."

The law is aimed at mothers and grants them immunity, as well as offering some protocol. Section 19-10A-4 states as follows:

A mother shall not be prosecuted for the crimes of cruelty to a child, Code Section 16-5-70; contributing to the delinquency, unruliness, or deprivation of a child, Code Section 16-12-1; or abandonment of a dependent child, Code Section 19-10-1, because of the act of leaving her newborn child in the physical custody of an employee, agent, or member of the staff of a medical facility who is on duty, whether there in a paid or volunteer position, provided that the newborn child is no more than one week old ...

The important part there is that the child must not be more than a week old.

In addition, the law defines what is meant by a medical facility (licensed general or specialists hospitals but not physician's or dentist's offices). The law also gives various immunities to medical staff.

Since the abandoned Stone Mountain toddler is well over a week old, it is likely that his parents will be facing some kind of criminal child abuse or abandonment charge.

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