Finding yourself unexpectedly pregnant or having a baby that was not planned can be incredibly overwhelming. The “Safe Delivery” law (or similarly named laws) have been implemented in some states to allow a confidential option for a mother to give up an infant in a way that is both safe for the child and without criminal repercussions for the mother.
What is Safe Delivery?
Safe Delivery is a law that protects mothers who find themselves in times of crisis after the birth of a child and do not feel able to care for their baby. The law allows a mother to legally surrender a child under 72 hours old with certain approved individuals without any further responsibility of the child. This can be a great adoption alternative for mothers who feel that they may not be able to raise a child at this moment in their lives.
How does Safe Delivery work?
Safe Delivery also referred to as “Safe Haven” or “infant relinquishment” in some states, allows new mothers to leave their newborn with any of the below-approved individuals:
- A uniformed employee who is inside and on duty at any hospital, fire department, or police station
- Any paramedic or emergency medical technician by calling 9-1-1
This gives mothers who are not ready for parenthood an opportunity to be free from the responsibility of raising a child.
Will I be responsible for my child after using Safe Delivery?
No, after dropping the child off, your responsibility is transferred to the individual whom you leave the child with. This individual will temporarily protect the child and will begin the process of finding it a safe and permanent home (starting with giving the child to an intake worker, and filing a birth certificate for the child).
Will I need to leave any contact info?
No, there is no contact information necessary to use Safe Delivery law and you will not be required to provide identifying information unless you choose to. In Michigan “whether or not the parent(s) provides information has no legal impact on the parent(s). Emergency service providers are obligated to ask, but the parent(s) is not obligated to provide the information.”
What will happen to my baby?
Once dropped off, the child will be under the temporary protection of the person it is left with. “The safe haven provider is required to accept emergency protective custody of the infant and provide any immediate medical care that the infant may require.” The Safe Delivery provider will then contact the child welfare department, who will “assume custody of the infant as an abandoned child. The department is responsible for placing the infant, usually in a pre-adoptive home,”.
What happens if I change my mind?
If you change your mind, and decide you would like to raise your child, the process is difficult, but not impossible. If you change your mind, you’ll want to immediately contact the County Human or Social Services Department. Since there is no longer a link between you and the baby after the child is surrendered, genetic testing is required and child protective services will work with you to determine whether or not the child can be placed back in your care.
Are there any requirements for Safe Delivery law?
When surrendering a baby, the child must be:
- Under 72 hours old
- Unharmed, and
- Brought by a parent who is not being forced to give up their child
As long as these requirements are met, and you are in the state of Michigan or another state in which the Safe Delivery law (or “Safe Haven Laws”) are the same, then you may take advantage of Safe Delivery.
Safe Delivery is a great option for preserving the life of a child. This law allows for a child to be left with a responsible guardian in a safe location with no repercussions to the mother. It maintains the mother’s peace of mind, and allows the child a chance to live a life with an adoptive family.
If you are considering taking advantage of Safe Delivery, or if you have any questions on pregnancy alternatives or related topics, please schedule an appointment with our team at Center for Women: https://jacksonpregnancy.com/options-consultation/.
For more information on Safe Delivery Laws, or to find requirements for locations outside of Michigan visit this website: https://www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org/find-a-safe-haven