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Jeanne M. Hannah

Joe, I have written extensively about how putative fathers can protect their parental rights to an unborn child even prior to birth. It takes a certain tenacity in order to do this. Many articles on this blog discuss how a father can protect himself from losing a child to adoption. The most important thing a father can do is to file a Form "Intent to Claim Paternity." This standard form is discussed on this blog.

See, e.g., What if father opposes adoption of child born out-of-wedlock?

The article Why We Need a Federal Putative Father Registry not only discusses how to use the putative father registry in Michigan and other states, but have many links to other articles.

Does this Safe Delivery of Newborns Act protect a father's rights? Given the fact that the Act is established to allow a mother to abandon a child with anonymity, it is somewhat difficult for a father to learn when, where, or if his child was born. See MCL 712.2a.

Nevertheless, the Act requires an emergency service provider to make a reasonable attempt to identify the parent, and then ask the parent to identify the other parent. See MCL 712.3e

MCL 712.7d requires a an investigation and attempt at identification through Unless the birth was witnessed by the emergency service provider, immediately the missing children information clearinghouse, the national center for missing and exploited children, and any other national and state resources, whether the newborn is a missing child. This means that if a father believes his child has been born and abandoned, he should file a missing child report with those agencies.

Together with the above requirements, MCL 712.9(f)requires the child placing agency, within 28 days, to make reasonable efforts to identify, locate, and provide notice of the surrender of the newborn to the non-surrendering parent. The child placing agency shall file a written report with the court that issued the order placing the child. The report shall state the efforts the child placing agency made in attempting to identify and locate the non-surrendering parent and the results of those efforts. If the identity and address of the non-surrendering parent are unknown, the child placing agency shall provide notice of the surrender of the newborn by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the newborn was surrendered.

If a father follows up by making himself known to the child placing agencies in his area, he can help them identify him as the father of an abandoned child.

MCL 712.10(1) allows an individual claiming to be the non-surrendering parent of that newborn may file a petition with the court for custody within 28 days of the birth.

MCL 712.11 provides for blood or tissue typing or DNA identification profiling to assist in identification if a custody petition is filed.

Given the difficulties imposed by the confidentiality rules, nevertheless, I believe the Act contains many important checks that will help fathers of abandoned infants.

However, as best explained by the blog article mentioned above about the need for a National Putative Father Registry, it may not always be possible for a father to find his child.

Joe Jurecki

What are the options and any built in safety measures for the rights of the father or extended family in a drop off situation?

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