Safe Haven for Newborns Information

Safe Haven, also known as “infant relinquishment,” allows a parent to leave their newborn in a safe place in certain circumstances with certain individuals.

What if I change my mind?

If you change your mind, please contact the County Human or Social Services Department in the county where you left the baby with a professional under the Safe Haven law. Before the county will consider returning the baby to you, you must first prove you are the baby’s parent. A genetic test can prove you are the parent.

If you are the parent, you must take a number of steps before the child may be returned to you, including:

  • Meeting with a County Social Worker;
  • Having the County worker visit your home or where you plan on living with the child;
  • Providing information on why you gave up the baby;
  • Providing information on the health of the baby;
  • Providing information on your ability to care for the baby, including parenting skills;
  • Providing information on anything that may keep you from caring for the baby; and
  • Providing information on your relationship with the baby’s other parent.

Based on all of this information, you may be asked to receive services to make sure the child will be safe in your care. The county and the court will make the final decision on the child’s return to your home.

How does Safe Haven (Infant Relinquishment) work?

Under Wisconsin law, a parent can leave their unharmed newborn child under 72 hours old with a:

  • police officer
  • 911 emergency medical staff person
  • hospital staff member

without fear of legal consequences. If you do not indicate that you will be back for your child this is called “Safe Haven” or “Infant Relinquishment.” You do not have to give your name or address to the professional accepting the baby, unless:

  • The baby has been harmed
  • You are being forced by someone to give up the baby
  • The baby is more than 3 days old

You may be asked if you are willing to fill out a form. This form is NOT required. It will, however, help providers give the best care to your infant now and in the future.

Health Information for Birth Mothers:

After women give birth they experience physical and emotional changes. Information about these changes and warning signs that could indicate you have serious health issues are reviewed in this handout.

Information Hotlines:

Maternal and Child Health Hotline provides information and links to services for pregnant and postpartum women and children. Hotline: 1-800-722-2295

Safe Place for Newborns provides information on Safe Haven laws and crisis support. Crisis Number: 1-877-440-2229 

Additional Information

Learn about birth parent support at the Wisconsin Adoption Information Center or call 1-800-571-1105. There is also information for parents or soon-to-be parents thinking about adoption for their child(ren).