Save the life of a newborn, spread the word about Safe Delivery

As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month outreach efforts, April 20 has been set aside as Safe Delivery Day throughout the state.

To focus attention on this important topic, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is spreading the word about Michigan's Safe Delivery Law by making a Safe Delivery communications toolkit available to help more people understand how they can help keep babies safe. The toolkit is available at www.michigan.gov/safedelivery.

"Recently many of us have been horrified by heartbreaking stories of newborn babies who have died due to neglect , abandonment and exposure, babies who were born healthy and could have been adopted into loving homes had they been given the chance," said Nick Lyon, director of MDHHS. "We urge anyone who has a newborn they cannot keep, for whatever reason, to hand their baby over to a local hospital, fire station, police department or call 911 no questions asked."

Babies' lives are at stake. Too often the message of Safe Delivery, also referred to as safe haven or safe surrender, does not get shared until it's too late. The toolkit provides ways the media and others can reach the public through traditional and social media to educate them about the safe, legal and anonymous alternative provided by the Safe Delivery Law.

Under the law, only biological parents may legally surrender an infant to an emergency service provider. The surrendered infant must not be more than 72 hours old. 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, or a paramedic or emergency medical technician who responds to a 911 call.

The surrendering parent and non-surrendering parent have 28 days from the date of surrender or notice of surrender to change their mind about the surrender. The child-placing agency that assumes temporary protective custody of the infant is mandated to make a reasonable effort to identify and locate the non-surrendering parent. A surrendered infant is placed with an approved prospective adoptive family that has undergone a rigorous review.

Since 2001, the Safe Delivery of Newborns Law has helped save 155 infants from being abandoned in unsafe locations. Parents, professionals and the general public can visit www.michigan.gov/safedelivery for more information or call the toll-free 24-hour hotline at 866-733-7733.

Published: Mon, Apr 20, 2015

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