Michigan lawmakers passed the Safe Delivery of Newborns law in January 2001, to end the tragedy of abandoned newborns being hidden and left to die in unsafe places. Unharmed newborns, up to 72 hours old, can be taken to an emergency service provider - a fire station, police station, hospital or call 911 to accept the surrendered newborn. Through the Safe Delivery law, a newborn can be surrendered in a safe, legal and anonymous way.
The mother does not have to provide her name or any identifying information. She is asked to provide some basic health information, but she does not need to answer any questions. Any information shared will not be made public and no criminal investigation will be initiated. The baby will be assessed for need of medical attention, which will be provided as needed. A licensed child-placing agency will be contacted to provide a pre-adoptive family for immediate placement. By surrendering the newborn, the birth parent needs to know that she is releasing her newborn to a child-placing agency to be placed for adoption.
The birth mother has 28 days after surrendering newborn to petition the court to regain custody if she changes her mind. If she files a petition with the court, a best interest hearing will be held to determine if it is in the baby’s best interest to return custody to the surrendering parent.
Safe Delivery is not intended to be a substitute for releasing a child for adoption under Michigan's Adoption Code, but provides a safe, confidential and legal way for a birth parent to allow her child to be adopted when she is facing desperate circumstances. The law encourages the placement of her newborn in a safe environment as opposed to an unsafe environment in these situations, saving lives.