South Carolina state law provides a safe haven for unwanted babies, mothers

Holcombe (Anderson County Sheriff’s Office)

An Upstate mother is charged with murder after a newborn is found dead in an Anderson County field. Now the Sheriff is reminding people about the South Carolina’s “Safe Haven” law as another option for those who may have unwanted newborn babies.

Anderson County deputies say Joanie Holcombe confessed and was arrested. She faces a murder charge.  In a release, the sheriff says while he doesn’t know her full story, he wants the public to know there is somewhere to turn for an unwanted baby.

“If it will save a child’s life,” Battalion Chief Michael Guest said. “We will certainly be proactive and do that.”

The Safe Haven law, or Daniels law in called in South Carolina, is designed to help both newborns and their mothers. According to the National Safe Haven Alliance, It’s already rescued at least one child in the nation this year.

“She hid the pregnancy and relinquished the baby to us at the hospital  we notified children services and now the baby is with a foster adoptive couple,” Timothy Jaccard, National Safe Haven Alliance Executive Board Member, explained. They hope to spread more awareness, to reach more mothers.

A baby up to 30 days old can be left with a person at a fire department, hospital, EMS provider, law enforcement agency or worship center.

Without giving away her identity, a woman can without punishment give the baby away unharmed.

“It would probably stun us a little bit that it has happened but i would rather see that than the alternative,” Guest added.

The safe havens are required to ask for a medical history, so they know how to provide care for the baby before putting the child in DSS custody. They’ll also suggest options for help to the mother in crisis.

“To care for them properly and give them a good home to grow up in,” Guest said.

There is a confidential hotline for anybody needing more information on the Safe Haven law, call 1-888-510-BABY.

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