Safe Delivery of Newborns
Michigan, like many states across the country, have stories reported in the news media of newborn babies abandoned in dumpsters, parking lots, car washes or public restrooms. While there are a number of reasons a frightened or panicked parent may abandon a baby, this newborn abandonment phenomenon led many states to look at how to prevent such happenings from occurring, thus saving lives.
On June 26, 2000, Michigan enacted the Safe Delivery of Newborns law with an effective date of January 1, 2001. While targeting desperate parents, the law encourages the placement of their newborns in a safe environment as opposed to an unsafe environment. This law allows for the safe, legal, and anonymous surrender of an infant, from birth to 72 hours of age, to an emergency service provider (ESP).
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. "Emergency service provider" also includes a paramedic or emergency medical technician when either of those individuals is responding to a 911 call. The parent has the choice to leave the infant without giving any identifying information to the ESP. The ESP, upon accepting the infant will provide whatever care may be necessary. Following an examination at a hospital, temporary protective custody will be given to a private adoption agency for placement with an approved adoptive family, if the child is unharmed. If the examination reveals signs of abuse and/or neglect, hospital personnel will initiate a referral to Children's Protective Services for an investigation.
To promote the Safe Delivery Program, the Safe Delivery Program FACT Sheet (DHS Pub 867) (PDF) describing the intent of the legislation, has been developed.
A toll-free, 24-hour telephone line has also been established to provide information on services available to a prospective parent. The toll-free number is: 866-733-7733.