As of August 1, the new Safe Place for Newborns law in Minnesota went into effect. Since 2000, Minnesota has had a Safe Place for Newborns law that allowed a mother (or her official representative) to bring her newborn infant to a hospital within 3 days of birth for the purpose of relinquishing her rights to the child without prosecution for abandonment. This law was enacted in order to reduce incidences of infant abandonment that result in the infant's death, as well as to help mothers in times of crisis.
Minnesota's Department of Human Services has issued a bulletin related to the new changes in the law. In a nutshell, the new law
- allows mothers or their official representatives to relinquish their newborns within 7 days (instead of 3);
- changes what constitutes a "safe place" to include health care providers who provide 24-hour access to urgent care services and ambulances dispatched via a 911 call by the mother or her representative;
- requires hospitals receiving a Safe Place newborn to provide any necessary care while awaiting child welfare pick-up of the infant;
- requires the responsible social services agency to place the Safe Place infant in foster care for 72 hours, petition for continued placement during that time, and immediately begin planning for the infant to be adopted.
The law's new text can be found in Chapter 216 of the 2012 legislative session, under Article 2: Safe Place for Newborns (which has been given the extra name of "Give Life A Chance").