Having a baby can be a wonderful occasion. Many people are excited to welcome a new addition to their family, but this is not always the case. Although there are many times a family is ready and willing to expand and care for an infant, there are times when the mother is not able to do so. The Minnesota Safe Place for Newborn Law was enacted with the purpose of reducing the number of infants who have been abandoned by mothers who are unable or unwilling to care for the baby.
The Minnesota Safe Place for Newborn Law can be found at Minnesota Statute 145.902. The law provides that a mother (or someone acting under her direction) can leave the infant at a hospital or a health care provider which provides urgent care medical services. A mother can also call 911 and relinquish the child to the responding EMTs. The child must be seven days old or younger for this law to apply. The law will also not apply if the child was born in a hospital. This is because when a child is born in a hospital, there is a record of his or her birth, and so anonymity is no longer possible. In addition, the law will only apply if the child is uninjured at the time he or she is relinquished to an approved facility or provider.
As mentioned earlier, part of the reason for the law is to provide anonymity for a mother voluntarily relinquishing her child. Accordingly, the law also provides that the receiving healthcare providers must not inquire as to her identity. The providers may ask about medical history, but the person leaving the child is not required to answer any questions.
After the child is left with the appropriate provider, the provider must inform the appropriate social services agency that a child has been surrendered. While waiting for social services to respond, the hospital is required to provide appropriate medical care to the infant. As long as the health care professional who receives the infant is acting in good faith, they will be immune from criminal prosecution or a civil action relating to the surrender of the infant.
If you have questions about child custody, call us today at (320) 299-4249. We can talk with you about your family and what we can do to help you.