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Home > Practice Areas > Baby Abandonment > Other Links and Resources

 
 

List of Enacted State Safe Haven Legislation

CWLA Summary for Wisconsin

Which babies may be relinquished?
  • Child must be 72 hours old or younger.
Who may relinquish a baby?
  • Parent:
    • Does not express an intent to return for the child.
What are the incentives for a person to relinquish a baby at a Safe Haven?
  • Anonymity:
    • Parent and person who assists the parent have the right to remain anonymous.
    • No person may induce or coerce a parent or person assisting a parent who wishes to remain anonymous into revealing his or her identity unless the person has reasonable cause to suspect that the child has been the victim of abuse or neglect.
  • Protection from Liability:
    • Immune from civil or criminal liability for good faith acts.
Who can accept a relinquished baby?
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Hospital staff member
  • Parent may call 911 or emergency number if unable to travel to a sheriff's office, police station, fire station, hospital, or place where a law enforcement officer, EMT, or hospital staff member is located.
What are the responsibilities of a Safe Haven?
  • Take child into custody.
  • Take any action necessary to protect the health and safety of the child.
  • May not induce or coerce a parent or person assisting a parent into revealing his/her identity unless reasonably suspects the child has been the victim of abuse or neglect.
  • Parent and any person who assists the parent may leave the presence of the law enforcement officer, EMT or hospital staff member at any time, and no one can follow them.
  • No one may attempt to locate or ascertain the identity of the parent or person who assists the parent.
  • Make available to the parent the maternal and child health toll-free number and the number of the local health department.
    • May not induce or coerce the parent into accepting the information.
  • Deliver the child to the intake worker within 24 hours after taking the child into custody.
Is the Safe Haven protected from liability for its actions?
  • Yes: Immune from civil or criminal liability for good faith acts.
Rights of the Relinquishing Parent
  • Provide Information to Relinquisher:
    • Make available to the parent the maternal and child health toll-free number and the number of the local health department.
    • May not induce or coerce the parent into accepting the information.
Care for the Child/Placement for Adoption
  • Child is presumed to be eligible for medical assistance.
  • Department of Health and Family Services shall promulgate rules for implementing this law, including:
    • Rules prescribing a means by which a parent who relinquishes custody may, until parental rights are terminated, choose to be identified as the child's parent.
  • Permanency plan need not include services to the parent of a relinquished child.
  • No need to make reasonable efforts to return the child to his or her home.
  • No need to provide notice of proceedings to a relinquisher who has exercised his or her right to remain anonymous.
  • Only a parent who chooses to be identified as the parent has standing to appear in court to contest a petition for termination of parental rights.
  • Juvenile Court shall exercise jurisdiction over a child.
  • Court may grant involuntary termination of parental rights on the grounds that custody has been relinquished.
Notes
  • Amends 48.42(2m), 48.355(2d)(c), 48.38(4)(a), 48.38(5)(c), and 48.977(2)(f); Creates 48.13 (2m), 48.195, 48.355 (2d)(b)5, 48.415(1m) and 48.42(2m) of the statutes.



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