Safe Place for Newborns

If you were not prepared to have a baby and are unsure what to do, leaving your newborn in a safe place is an option. Under Wisconsin State law, you can leave a newborn child under 72 hours old with a police officer, 911 emergency medical staff, or a hospital staff member without being arrested. You do not have to give your name or address to the person accepting the baby, unless the following situations are true:

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

You can contact the county Human or Social Services Department in the county where you relinquished custody of the baby if you change your mind. 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.

Steps Prior to the Baby's Return

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
  • Providing information on your relationship with the baby's other parent

Based on all the information gathered, you might be required to receive help to make sure the child will be safe. The county and the court will make the final decision on whether or not it is safe for the child to be returned to you.

Additional Information

For more information, please contact one of the following:

  • Bayfield County Department of Human Services - 715-373-6144
  • Maternal and Child Health Hotline - 800-722-2295
  • Safe Place for Newborns - Crisis number: 877-440-2229