GRAND RAPIDS, MIch. (WOTV) Parents with an unexpected pregnancy who believe they are unable to raise their newborn child have options to safely, legally and anonymously leave an infant no more than 72 hours old in safe places. Parents can surrender their infant to an emergency service provider. An emergency service provider is a uniformed or otherwise identified employee or contractor of a fire department, hospital or police station that is inside the building and on duty, or a paramedic or emergency medical technician who responds to a 911 call.
The law allows a parent to surrender an infant without breaking any laws or giving any identifying information. Although the parent remains anonymous, he or she is encouraged to provide family and medical background information that could be useful to the child in the future. After the newborn is placed in the temporary protective custody of the emergency service provider, the infant is examined at a hospital and if no signs of abuse or neglect are found, the infant is released to the temporary protective custody of an adoption agency for placement with an approved prospective adoptive family.
Other key facts about Safe Delivery include:
- Surrendering parents may choose to share identifying information with assurances that this information will remain confidential.
- Only the biological parents may legally surrender an infant.
- The infant must be surrendered to an on duty employee who is inside a hospital, fire department or police station or by calling 911 and surrendering to an EMT or paramedic.
- The surrendered infant must not be more than 72 hours old.
- A physician will determine the age of the infant.
- The surrendering parent and non-surrendering parent have 28 days from the date of surrender or notice of surrender to change their mind about the surrender.
- A surrendered infant is not placed in a foster care home.
- A surrendered infant is placed with a studied and approved prospective adoptive family.
- The child placing agency that assumes temporary protective custody of the infant is mandated to make a reasonable effort to identify and locate the non- surrendering parent.
Since 2001, the Safe Delivery of Newborns Law has helped save 155 infants from being abandoned in unsafe locations. (Updated stats are on www.michigan.gov/safedelivery)
Parents, professionals and the general public can visit www.michigan.gov/safedelivery for more information or call the toll-free 24-hour hotline at 866-733-7733. Free resources are available to promote public and professional awareness.