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The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides Minnesotans with a variety of services intended to help people live as independently as possible.

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Safe Place for Newborns law protects babies, parents

DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, center, speaks at a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the Capitol to raise awareness about the recently expanded Safe Place for Newborns law. She is joined by, left to right, O.J. Doyle of the Minnesota Ambulance Association, chief author of the House bill Rep. Jim Abeler, co-author Rep. Nora Slawik and chief author of the Senate bill Sen. Michelle Benson.In response to tragedies involving abandoned infants over the last several years, the Minnesota Department of Human Services and state Legislature strengthened the Safe Place for Newborns law last session.

Effective Aug. 1, 2012, the law allows a mother, or someone acting with her permission, to anonymously surrender an unharmed infant born within the past seven days to a designated safe place. A safe place includes a hospital, an urgent care facility during its hours of operation, or an ambulance that is dispatched in response to a 911 call. Previously, the law enacted in 2000 allowed for the safe surrender of infants born within 72 hours at hospitals only.

DHS is now working to reach parents with the message that there are several options to safely and anonymously surrender an unwanted newborn. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, key legislators and emergency responders held a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the Minnesota State Capitol to raise awareness about the law. Jesson said the law benefits both parents and infants.

“The mother will know the baby’s safe, and that she’s made a loving decision, because that’s what Safe Place for Newborns is about – safe places with no questions asked, with no blame attached and with no fear of prosecution,” Jesson said.

A flier (PDF) is available for individuals, faith communities, nonprofits, health care organizations, businesses and others to print out and post. More information about Safe Place for Newborns is also available in a fact sheet (PDF) and news release.


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