How Georgia’s Safe Haven Law Can Help Mothers and End Child Abandonment

How Georgia’s Safe Haven Law Can Help Mothers and End Child Abandonment

While only the eighth most populous state in the United States, Georgia has the second highest rate of babies abandoned by their mothers and has the largest number of babies on the East Coast abandoned in just their first few days of life.  

Recently, this alarming epidemic drew national attention with the story of Baby India, a newborn who was found clinging to life, bloody and with her umbilical cord still attached, in a plastic bag near a wooded area in Forsyth County, Georgia. A local family heard Baby India’s cries and came to her rescue.  Thankfully, experts, media commentators, and advocates are hearing the cries of babies like India and hoping to point mothers to Georgia’s Safe Haven Law.

What You Need to Know About the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry

The Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry is maintained by the Division of Family and Children Services (“DFCS”) to organize and provide information to connect adopted individuals and their families. As DFCS states on the Reunion Registry website, “adoptees, birth parents, or siblings who have been permanently separated through adoption often reach a time in their lives when they want more information about their biological family. This ‘need to know’ may be due to medical, genetic, genealogical, or personal reasons.”

Understanding the Infamous ICPC

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (“ICPC” or the “Compact”) is a statutory agreement between all 50 states and the District of Columbia which regulates and ensures uniformity in the process of placing children living in one state into another state. Since the 1950s, the ICPC has been adopted in every U.S. jurisdiction, including the State of Georgia. Before the law became universally adopted, each individual state’s ability to ensure the best interests of a child adopted beyond its borders was geographically limited. A patchwork of conflicting rules and regulations prevented a state from having any oversight of how a child’s well-being was provided for once the child was sent beyond the state’s borders. This was a double-edged sword for states, which could neither help children placed in bad adoption situations or get children into good out-of-state homes.

When to Expect a Court Investigation and How to Prepare for It?

Georgia adoption laws underwent the first significant overhaul in approximately 28 years in September 2018, resulting in changes aimed at making the adoption process more efficient for hopeful parents. However, adoption still requires a comprehensive review of prospective adoptive parents, their homes, their families, and their day-to-day lives so that the courts can determine if the home is the right fit for a child.

How Quickly Should I Notify My Employer of My Injury?

If injured on the job, it is the responsibility of the employee or his representative to give notice of his injury to his employer within thirty (30) days of any accident.  The employee is not entitled to compensation until notice is given to the employer in person or by his representative.  The lack of sufficient notice can result in the denial of the claim for physician’s fees or compensation. The employee does not need to specify that the injury occurred on the job when providing notice.  Additionally, the employee does not need to provide notice with the intent of claiming compensation.  

Telecommuting Employees Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation for Job-Related Injuries Sustained at Home

Employees are increasingly working from home offices, local coffee shops and other remote locations, and this trend is expected to continue. While telecommuting increases worker satisfaction and productivity, it can create challenges for employees seeking workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered while working remotely.

What If I Am Injured in the Parking Lot?

If an employee has ever suffered an injury while in the employer’s parking lot, generally, the injury is deemed to have occurred in the course of employment. The significant factor in determining whether the employee’s injury is deemed within the course of employment is whether the injury occurred in a parking lot that was owned, maintained or controlled by the employer.  If the employer owned, maintained or controlled the parking lot at the time the injury was sustained, it is likely the employee may have a workers’ compensation claim.  Accordingly, it should be handled no differently from an injury occurring elsewhere in the workplace. 

Hurt on the Job. Now what?

If you have suffered an injury while performing your job, the first thing you should do is report your injury immediately to a supervisor, foreman, manager or Human Resources.   Failure to report your injury within 30 days of your accident could result in the loss of workers compensation benefits.  If you are injured on the job, you may receive medical, rehabilitation and income benefits. These benefits are provided to help you return to work. Your dependents may also receive benefits if you die as a result of a job-related injury. 

‘Tis The Season for Company-Sponsored Events: Are Employees Eligible for Workers’ Compensation for Injuries Sustained at Off-Site Gatherings?

As 2014 comes to an end, many employers will host holiday celebrations, while others will hold off-site retreats to begin planning for 2015. In the midst of the revelry and team building, employees should avoid activities that may lead to physical injury, since workers’ compensation benefits may not be available to them.

How Workers’ Compensation and Subrogation Intertwine

It is more common than rare that an injured employee will have a workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim simultaneously. It is important to be aware that a workers’ compensation claim can impact a liability claim.  Let’s briefly focus on how the workers’ compensation claim can effect the liability claim in the area of subrogation. 

Stepparent Adoption: Security for the Blended Family

There are many blended families composed of children from prior marriages and relationships. Has the thought crossed your mind about whether to pursue a stepparent adoption?  A stepparent adoption is where the child’s custodial parent consents to the child being adopted by the new spouse.  Once the adoption is finalized the custodial parent and stepparent will equally be the legal parents of the child. 

The Purpose of A Medicare Set-Aside Trust in A Workers’ Compensation Claim

The purpose of the Medicare Set-Aside trust (MSA) is to provide funds to the injured party to pay for future medical expenses that would be otherwise covered by Medicare.  Medicare’s position is that of a secondary payer in cases where the primary payment responsibility for paying medical costs rests with another entity, such as a workers’ compensation insurance carrier or liability insurer. Workers’ compensation is the primary payer to the individual for work-related injuries or illnesses

Can you have a worker's compensation and liability claim against your employer?

When a worker is injured or killed while in the course and scope of his employment, workers’ compensation benefits under The Workers’ Compensation Act is generally the exclusive remedy.  O.C.G.A. § 34-9-11 is the exclusive no-fault remedy provision given to an employee or their dependents for work-related injuries and deaths. It was enacted to alleviate the suffering of injured workers and their families by providing immediate and certain financial assistance, regardless of the fault, as long as the injury arose out of and in the course of employment. 

Why Would An Adult Seek To Be Adopted?

 Often, when people think of adoption, they tend to think of only minor children under the age of 18.  However, in Georgia, not only minors may be adopted, but adults may be adopted as well.  Adults choose to be adopted for varying reasons, to include the following:

No matter how old you are, the desire is never lost for family.  Many adults also pursue adult adoptions to remove the stigma of not having a family and of not having a feeling of permanence.