Infant Safe Haven Laws - Minnesota

Date:

Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 145.902

A newborn may be relinquished provided that the following are true:

  • The newborn was born within 7 days of being left at the hospital, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
  • The newborn is left in an unharmed condition.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260C.139, Subd. 3

A mother or any person with the mother's permission may bring a newborn infant to a safe place during its hours of operation and leave the infant in the care of an employee of the safe place. The mother or a person with the mother's permission may call 911 to request to have an ambulance dispatched to an agreed-upon location to relinquish a newborn infant into the custody of ambulance personnel.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 145.902

The infant may be left at a safe place. The term 'safe place' includes a licensed hospital, a health-care provider who provides urgent-care medical services, or a licensed ambulance service dispatched in response to a 911 call from a mother or a person with the mother's permission to relinquish a newborn infant.

A safe place shall receive a newborn left with an employee on the premises of the safe place during its hours of operation provided that the following conditions have been met:

  • The newborn was born within 7 days of being left at the safe place, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
  • The newborn is left in an unharmed condition.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 145.902

A safe place that is a health-care provider who provides urgent-care medical services shall dial 911, advise the dispatcher that the call is being made from a safe place for newborns, and ask the dispatcher to send an ambulance or take other appropriate action to transport the newborn to a hospital. An ambulance with whom a newborn is left shall transport the newborn to a hospital for care.

Within 24 hours of receiving a newborn under this section, the hospital must inform the responsible social services agency that a newborn has been left at the hospital but must not do so in the presence of the mother or the person leaving the newborn. The hospital must provide necessary care to the newborn pending assumption of legal responsibility by the responsible social services agency.

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 145.902

A safe place with responsibility for performing duties under this section, and any employee, doctor, ambulance personnel, or other medical professional working at the safe place, are immune from any criminal liability that otherwise might result from their actions, if they are acting in good faith in receiving a newborn and are immune from any civil liability that otherwise might result from merely receiving a newborn.

A safe place performing duties under this section or an employee, doctor, ambulance personnel, or other medical professional working at the safe place who is a mandated reporter under § 626.556 is immune from any criminal or civil liability that otherwise might result from the failure to make a report under that section if the person is acting in good faith in complying with this section.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 145.902; 609.3785

The safe place must not inquire as to the identity of the mother or the person leaving the newborn or call the police, provided the newborn is unharmed when presented to the hospital. The safe place may ask the mother or the person leaving the newborn about the medical history of the mother or newborn but the mother or the person leaving the newborn is not required to provide any information. The safe place may provide the mother or the person leaving the newborn with information about how to contact relevant social services agencies.

A person may leave a newborn with an employee at a safe place without being subjected to prosecution for that act, provided that the following conditions are met:

  • The newborn was born within 7 days of being left at the safe place, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
  • The newborn is left in an unharmed condition.
  • In cases where the person leaving the newborn is not the newborn's mother, the person has the mother's approval to do so.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260C.139

A responsible social services agency with responsibility for the child is not required to attempt to reunify the child with the child's parents. Additionally, the agency is not required to search for relatives of the child as a placement or permanency option or to implement other placement requirements that give a preference to relatives if the agency does not have information as to the identity of the child, the child's mother, or the child's father.

For purposes of proceedings under this chapter and adoption proceedings, a newborn left at a safe place is considered an abandoned child.

The agency contacted by a safe place shall have the legal responsibility to place the newborn infant in foster care for 72 hours, during which time the agency shall file a petition under § 260C.141 and ask the court to order continued placement of the child in foster care. The agency shall immediately begin planning for adoptive placement of the newborn.