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Frequently Asked Questions
When did this law take effect?Agency: Health and Human Services
January 1, 2001.
In general, what does the law provide?Agency: Health and Human Services
This law allows for the safe, legal, and confidential surrender of a newborn, up to three days (72 hours) old, to an Emergency Service Provider (ESP).
Who is an Emergency Service Provider?Agency: Health and Human Services
“Emergency Service Provider” (ESP) means a uniformed or otherwise identified employee or contractor of a fire department, hospital, or police station when that individual is inside the premises and on duty. Emergency service provider also includes a paramedic or an emergency medical technician when either of those individuals is responding to a 9-1-1 emergency call. MCL 712.1(f)
A hospital means a hospital that is licensed under article 17 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.20101 to 333.22260.
Fire department means an organized fire department as that term is defined in Section 1 of the fire prevention code 1941 PA 207, MCL 29.1
Police station means a police station as that term is defined in section 43 of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300 MCL 257.43.
What written information is the ESP to provide the surrendering parent?Agency: Health and Human Services
The ESP is to provide the parent with written materials approved by or produced by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The ESP is required to make a reasonable effort to give the parent(s) the Safe Delivery Program FACT Sheet, DHS Pub-867.
What other information should the ESP share?Agency: Health and Human Services
Reasonable efforts should be made to inform the parent(s) that by surrendering the newborn the newborn will be placed for adoption and that they will have 28 days to petition the court to regain custody of the surrendered child. A reasonable attempt should be made to:
- Reassure that shared information will be kept confidential.
- Encourage the parent(s) to identify him/herself.
- Encourage the parent(s) to share relevant family/medical history (Voluntary Medical Background for a Surrendered Newborn DHS-4819 has been developed to assist with this).
- Inform the parent(s) that they can receive counseling or medical attention.
- Inform the parent(s) that a reasonable effort must be made to identify the non-surrendering parent.
- Inform the parent(s) that the child placement agency can provide confidential services.
- Inform the parent(s) that they may voluntarily sign a release for the newborn to be used in the termination hearing (Voluntary Release for Adoption of a Surrendered Newborn by Parent DHS-4820).
Where does an ESP obtain a listing of counseling and medical service providers?Agency: Health and Human Services
This information is available from local offices of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, both mental health and public health departments, pregnancy counseling services, family planning clinics and the Yellow Pages of phone directories.
How does the ESP know if the baby is a newborn?Agency: Health and Human Services
This law defines a newborn as "a child who a physician reasonably believes to be not more than 72 hours old". Emergency service providers must comply with the requirements of this law under the assumption that the child is a newborn. The hospital must immediately accept the newborn without the necessity of a court order. Later in the process, if a physician determines that the baby is not a newborn, a report must be made to the local office of the Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) Children's Protective Services (CPS)
In brief, if the baby appears to be a newborn, follow the procedures outlined in this law.
What if the person(s) surrendering the newborn leaves without providing any additional information?Agency: Health and Human Services
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 if someone other than a parent surrenders the newborn?Agency: Health and Human Services
If the person surrendering the newborn is not the biological parent(s), the ESP must retain temporary protective custody of the child and immediately contact law enforcement who will investigate to determine if the newborn has been abducted, abandoned, or involved in other criminal activities. The local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Children's Protective Services (CPS) office must be contacted if the newborn needs to be placed in foster care pending the completion of law enforcement's investigation.
How will the non-surrendering parent know about the birth and the surrender of the baby?Agency: Health and Human Services
Statute requires that a reasonable attempt to identify the non-surrendering parent be made. If the name and address of that parent is unknown, the child placing agency must provide notice by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the newborn was surrendered. While there is no specific language developed, the following is an example of a notification relating to a surrendered newborn:
State of Michigan,
(Name of court) Circuit Court, Family Division
Publication of Notice
Safe Delivery of Newborns (MCL 712.1)
To: Birth Father and Birth Mother of Minor Child In the Matter of: Newborn Baby, Born and surrendered on (list date, time, surrender location (e.g. hospital, police station, fire department), city & state), By surrendering your newborn, you are releasing your newborn to a child placing agency to be placed for adoption. You have until (list date – 28 days from the surrender of the child) to petition the court to regain custody of your child. After the 28 days there will be a hearing to terminate your parental rights. There will be a public notice of this hearing; however, the notice will not contain your names. You will not receive personal notice of the hearing. You, as the parent(s), can call (list agency with phone number and, if required, the court’s information) for further information.
What if the newborn is found abandoned on the hospital, fire station or police station premises?
What if a parent(s) returns to the hospital, fire station or police station following the surrender and requests return of the newborn?Agency: Health and Human Services
The newborn should not be returned to the parent(s) under these circumstances. Personnel should advise the parent(s) of their right to file an action in Circuit Court, Family Division for custody of the newborn within 28 days of surrender.
What Circuit Court, Family Division does the surrendering parent(s) file for custody if, after surrender, they wish to do so?Agency: Health and Human Services
The custody action is to be filed in one of the following:
- (a) If the parent has located the newborn, the county where the newborn is located.
- (b) If subdivision (a) does not apply and the parent knows the location of the emergency service provider to whom the newborn was surrendered, the county where the emergency service provider is located.
- (c) If neither subdivision (a) nor (b) applies, the county where the parent is located.
The law indicates that the newborn surrendered at a fire department or police station must be transferred to the hospital. How should this be done?Agency: Health and Human Services
The newborn must be transported to the hospital. Personnel are to transfer temporary protective custody of the newborn to the hospital staff. The transporting of a surrendered newborn to the hospital by fire and police personnel is not addressed in statute. Personnel are encouraged to contact their respective areas for protocol and/or procedures.
Should the initial clinical assessment of the newborn, at the hospital, include a complete physical examination?Agency: Health and Human Services
Probate Code 1939 PA 288 of 1939, MCL 712.5.2 states, A hospital that takes a newborn into temporary protective custody under this chapter shall have the newborn examined by a physician. If a physician who examines the newborn either determines that there is reason to suspect the newborn has experienced child abuse or child neglect, other than being surrendered to an emergency service provider under section 3 of this chapter, or comes to a reasonable belief that the child is not a newborn, the physician shall immediately report to the department as required by section 3 of the child protection law, 1975 PA 238, MCL 722.623.
Results of the complete clinical examination should be documented, included the estimated age of the newborn, results of the physical examination, and recommended care plan.
What should be done if, during the hospital's clinical assessment, signs of abuse and/or neglect are present?Agency: Health and Human Services
If the physician examining the newborn has reason to suspect that the newborn has experienced abuse and/or neglect (for reason other than being surrendered to an ESP) the physician must immediately report to the local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Children’s Protective Services (CPS) office and file a Report of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect.
Does the hospital have to obtain written consent to treat and/or transfer the newborn?Agency: Health and Human Services
Do ESPs have legal protection against lawsuits relating to accepting surrendered newborns?Agency: Health and Human Services
Hospital and child placing agency staff are immune from civil actions for accepting or transferring a newborn under the Safe Delivery law, unless they act with gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. ESPs are entitled to immunity described above and are also entitled to immunity per 1964 PA 170, MCL 691.1401 to 691.1415.
Will the surrendered newborn be eligible for Medicaid?Agency: Health and Human Services
An application for Medicaid may be made for newborns surrendered under the Safe Delivery of Newborns Law by the provider hospital, child placing agency, court appointed lawyer guardian ad litem, or prospective adoptive parent. Assistance in applying for Medicaid can be obtained from a local Michigan Department of Health and Human Service (MDHHS) office.
Who applies for the birth registration for the newborn?Agency: Health and Human Services
Hospital personnel will follow hospital procedures for completing the birth registration:
- The newborn’s name will be recorded as Baby Doe
- The mother’s name will be recorded as Unknown
- Child Placing Agency/Adoption Agency will sign the birth certificate as the informant
- The birth registration needs to be completed within five days.
The birth registration information must be supplied on a current “Certificate of Live Birth” (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, form number DCH-0481)
The procedures for birth registration can be found in the State Registrar’s Instruction Letter Number 2. If further assistance is needed, contact the Registration Unit, Office of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) at 517-335-6506.
Following an examination at a hospital and if the newborn is unharmed, what is the next step for the hospital?Agency: Health and Human Services
The hospital must notify a child placing agency for placement.
Where does the hospital obtain a listing of child placing agencies that handle adoptions?Agency: Health and Human Services
A listing of Michigan private adoption agencies that will provide a placement for a surrendered newborn in an approved adoptive home is available in the Safe Delivery of Newborns Adoption Agency Directory.
What are the responsibilities of a child placing agency that has taken a newborn under this law?Agency: Health and Human Services
Child Placing Agency Responsibilities:
Immediately assume the care, control and temporary protective custody of newborn.
- If parent(s) is known and willing, immediately meet with the parent(s).
- Unless otherwise provided in MCL 712.7, make a temporary placement of the newborn with a prospective adoptive parent who has an approved preplacement assessment.
- Unless the birth was witnessed by an ESP, immediately request assistance from law enforcement officials to investigate and determine whether the newborn is a missing child through Michigan's Missing Children's Information Clearinghouse as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
- Within 48 hours after transferring physical custody to a prospective adoptive parent(s), petition the court for authority to place and provide care for the newborn.
- Within 28 days make reasonable effort to identify and locate the non-surrendering parent. If that parent's identity and address are unknown, the child placing agency must provide notice of the surrender by publication.
How do I contact the Michigan Missing Children's Information Clearinghouse and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children?Agency: Health and Human Services
Michigan State Police
7150 Harris Drive
Lansing, MI 48821
Telephone Number 1-800-525-5555 or 1-517-332-2521
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Information Clearinghouse telephone number is 1-800-THE LOST (843-5678)
The child placing agency that has temporary protective custody of a newborn under the Safe Delivery of Newborns Act will be required to complete court forms. What forms have been developed and how does the agency access them?Agency: Health and Human Services
The State Court Administrator's Office has approved forms to be used related to the surrendered newborn. These forms are available from the Family Division of Circuit Court. They are also available on the Michigan Courts website . For easy reference, the form numbers and titles have been provided:
- CCFD-01 Petition for Placement Order of Surrendered Newborn Child
- CCFD-02 Order Placing Surrendered Newborn with Prospective Adoptive Parents
- CCFD-03 Petition of Parent for Custody of Surrendered Newborn Child
- CCFD-04 Order for Blood or Tissue Typing or DNA Profile
- CCFD-05 Motion Objecting to DNA Identification Profile or Blood/Tissue Typing Summary Report
- CCFD-06 Order Determining Custody of Surrendered Newborn Child
- CCFD-07 Petition to Accept Release and Terminate Rights to Surrendered Newborn Child
Where can I get more information about the Safe Delivery Law?