Infant Safe Haven Laws - Michigan

Date: September 2021

Infant's Age

Citation: Comp. Laws § 712.1

A newborn may be relinquished. The term 'newborn' means a child who a physician reasonably believes to be not more than 72 hours old.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 712.1; 712.3

A parent may surrender the child. The term 'surrender' means to leave a newborn with an emergency services provider without expressing an intent to return for the newborn.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Comp. Laws § 712.1

The infant may be surrendered to an emergency services provider. An emergency services provider includes 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 services provider also includes a paramedic or an emergency medical technician when either of those individuals is responding to a 911 emergency call.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 712.3; 750.135(2)

The safe haven provider will do all the following:

  • Take the child into temporary protective custody
  • Provide the child with any necessary care and transport the child to a hospital if necessary
  • Inform the parent that by surrendering the child, he or she is relinquishing rights to the child to a child-placing agency for adoption
  • Provide written material that informs the parent about rights and available services
  • Encourage the parent to provide family and medical information
  • Notify a child-placing agency about the child
  • Make a child protection report if abuse of the child is suspected or if the examining physician suspects that the child is not a newborn

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Comp. Laws § 712.2

A hospital and a child-placing agency, and their agents and employees, are immune in a civil action for damages for an act or omission in accepting or transferring a newborn under this chapter, except for an act or omission constituting gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. To the extent not protected by the immunity conferred by §§ 691.1401 to 691.1415, an employee or contractor of a fire department or police station has the same immunity that this subsection provides to an employee of a hospital or child-placing agency.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 712.3; 750.135(2)

Information the parent provides to an emergency services provider will not be made public.

Except for a situation involving actual or suspected child abuse or child neglect, it is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for child abandonment that the child was not more than 72 hours old and was surrendered to an emergency services provider. A criminal investigation shall not be initiated solely on the basis of a newborn being surrendered to an emergency services provider.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 712.3; 712.17

By surrendering the newborn, the parent is releasing the newborn to a child-placing agency to be placed for adoption.

The parent has 28 days after surrendering the newborn to petition the court to regain custody of the newborn. After the 28-day period to petition for custody elapses, there will be a hearing to determine and terminate parental rights.

There will be public notice of this hearing, and the notice will not contain the parent's name. The parent will not receive personal notice of this hearing.

A parent who surrenders a newborn and does not file a custody action is presumed to have knowingly released his or her parental rights to the newborn. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the surrendering parent has knowingly released his or her rights to the child and that reasonable efforts were made to locate the nonsurrendering parent and a custody action has not been filed, the court shall enter an order terminating parental rights of the surrendering parent and the nonsurrendering parent.