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Relinquishing a Newborn in Illinois

Posted on in Adoption

Illinois family law attorney, abandoned child law, Illinois child custody lawyer, Illinois law recognizes that not all parents want to be parents. Moreover, the law recognizes that feelings of desperation often result in desperate acts, such as abandoning an unwanted child into unsafe conditions. That is why the state has in place the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act (ANIPA), which allows parents to relinquish a newborn anonymously without incurring any civil or criminal liabilities. The goal is to prevent parents who do not want to keep their newborns from abandoning them into dangerous circumstances.

The law presumes that relinquishing a newborn in accordance with ANIPA amounts to the parent consenting to termination of his or her parental rights. Specifically, the presumption arises if:

  • The person who is relinquishing a newborn is the infant’s biological parent;
  • The person intended to relinquish the newborn to the hospital, police station, fire station or emergency medical facility to treat, care for and otherwise provide for the infant; and
  • The person did not express an intent to return for the infant or express an intent not to return.

This is a rebuttable presumption, but the person who is relinquishing a newborn must make a rebuttal before his or her parental rights have been terminated.

The law designates certain institutions as safe places to relinquish a newborn:

1.       Hospitals are required to accept relinquished newborns and to provide all necessary emergency services and care.

  • Relinquishment serves as implied consent for the hospital to treat the infant.
  • The hospital has temporary protective custody until the infant is discharged to a child-placing agency or the Department of Children and Family Services.

2.       Fire stations and emergency medical facilities are required to accept relinquished newborns and to provide all necessary emergency services and care.

  • Relinquishment serves as implied consent for the facilities to treat the infant.
  • After relinquishment to one of these facilities, their personnel must arrange for the infant to be transported to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.
  • If the parent returns to reclaim the child within 72 hours the personnel must inform him or her where the infant has been transported.

3.       Police stations are required to accept relinquished newborns and      arrange for them to be transported to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.

  • Relinquishment serves as implied consent for the hospital to treat the infant.
  • If the parent returns to reclaim the child within 72 hours the police station must inform him or her where the infant has been transported.

All of these facilities must post a sign in a conspicuous place informing persons where they can relinquish a newborn. If a newborn has been relinquished under the above conditions, the attending personnel are immune from any civil or criminal liabilities as long as they acted in good faith in accordance with ANIPA.

Contact Our Legal Professionals Today

Relinquishing your newborn and thus terminating your parental rights is a huge step. It is important to understand at what point your parental rights have been terminated, especially if that was not your intention. Contact one of our experienced St. Charles family law attorneys today for a consultation.
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