DCFS INFO MEMO 2004 - 09

August 2, 2004

Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Children and Family Services



Area Administrators/Assistant Area Administrators
Bureau Directors
County Departments of Community Programs Directors
County Departments of Developmental Disabilities Services Directors
County Departments of Human Services Directors
County Departments of Social Services Directors
Section Chiefs/Licensing Chiefs
Tribal Chairpersons/Human Services Facilitators


Kitty Kocol


Chapter HFS 39: Relinquishing Custody of a Newborn Child


On April 3, 2001, Wisconsin Act 2 was signed into law. This law allows a parent to anonymously relinquish custody of a newborn who is less than 72 hours old. The infant may be relinquished to a law enforcement officer, an emergency medical technician, or a hospital staff member. The law also granted authority to the Department to create an administrative rule to implement this new law, including consideration of the different circumstances under which a parent might relinquish custody of a newborn, prescribing a means by which a parent who relinquishes custody may, until his or her parental rights are terminated, choose to be identified as that child’s parent. The Division, in conjunction with an advisory committee comprised of a wide variety of affected shareholders, worked together to promulgate that rule. The rule, Ch. HFS 39, which became effective on February 1, 2004, is attached and is also on the Department’s website.

As part of this rule-making process, materials were developed to assist both the parent and the person taking custody of a newborn. The materials consist of instructions for the person accepting custody of a relinquished infant, and a questionnaire and an informational flyer for the parent. It is not required that these materials be utilized, but, if desired, they can be accessed on the Department’s website at the address listed below.



Area Administration


Amy Smith
CPS Specialist
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
Phone: (608) 267-7732
FAX: (608) 264-6750
E-Mail: smithae@dhfs.state.wi.us

HFS 39  (exit DHFS)
DCF-F-CFS2316 "Questions About You and the Infant" (PDF 18 kb)
Infant Relinquishment (PDF 8 kb)
Instructions for Person Accepting Relinquishment of an Infant (PDF 10 kb)
Health Information for Birth Mother (PDF 11 kb)

The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.