Abandoned Infant Law and Legal Definition

The term ‘abandoned infant’ is used to refer to a newborn child who is abandoned in dumpsters or other public places, or left in the possession of another person without any identifying information.

Laws to avert these unsafe abandonments are almost exclusively State laws. Most of the U.S. states have enacted infant safe haven laws to protect these abandoned infants. Safe haven laws allow parents or any authorized person to abandon the infant in a safe haven location without leaving any identifying information. However, some states require some background medical information. Laws relating to abandoned infants vary from state to state.

The following is an example of a state law (Arkansas) defining the term:

According to A.C.A. § 9-27-303, "Abandoned infant" means a juvenile less than nine (9) months of age whose parent, guardian, or custodian left the child alone or in the possession of another person without identifying information or with an expression of intent by words, actions, or omissions not to return for the infant.