Laws keep babies safe
The Safe Place for Newborns (also known as "Safe Haven") laws [MINN STAT. 145.901 (2000); MINN STAT. 609.3785 (2000)] were created to protect parents and babies by providing a way for parents to place their newborn in the care of a safe place without fear of penalty or prosecution for abandonment. Designated safe places include:
- health care providers with 24-hour urgent care services
- ambulances dispatched in response to a 9-1-1 call
Under this law, parents can give up the baby any time within the first week of life, but they must hand the baby over to an employee or representative of a safe place.
These laws are important because parents can relinquish their child knowing that he or she will receive care and the parent will not be accused of abandoning or neglecting the baby. In fact, facilities and 9-1-1 responders are forbidden from calling the police or attempting to locate the parent or parents. Parents may voluntarily offer information pertinent to the baby, but they are never required to provide any information when they give up their child.
Safe Place babies are rare. Only a handful of Minnesota parents have taken advantage of the law since it passed in 2000. If your facility receives a Safe Haven or Safe Place baby, please call MDH to register the birth. Do not attempt to enter a birth record for this baby in MR&C. You may call one of the field representatives, or call the Registration Helpline at 651-201-5961.
Mother's residence and mailing addresses
Why do we collect "Mother’s residence information" in addition to "Mother’s mailing address information"? Aren’t they the same?
Much of the time, they are.
"Mother’s residence information" is the geographic/physical location of where the mother lives. This is the street address, apartment number (if applicable), town/city, county, state and country.
"Mother’s mailing address information" is the mother’s postal address; i.e., the information the post office uses to deliver the mother’s mail.
Differences in the two blocks of information are permissible when the physical location of the mother’s residence isn’t described by the postal address.
"Mother’s residence information" and "Mother’s mailing address information" are used by a number of internal programs at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH): Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Program (PRAMS); Maternal and Child Health; Newborn Screening; Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC); and Minnesota Center for Health Statistics (MCHS). The information is also used by school districts, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Social Security Administration, Local Public Health agencies, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Program, and the National Center for Health Statistics.
In the "Mother’s residence information" area we see problems in two spots. The first is when the response to "Inside city limits?" is "No" and a city name is entered. In this situation please ask the mother for the name of the township and enter that information.
The second spot is the street address. If a P.O. Box is reported as the physical location of the residence, it’s a flag to ask the mom for the house number and street name of her residence.
Another area of concern is the assumption that the residence county is the same as the mailing address county. For example, mom lives in Linwood Township, Anoka County, but gives a mailing address of Stacy, MN. If you enter Anoka County in the "Mother’s mailing address information" block and then search for the city of Stacy (the mailing address city) the results will be "Other" or "Unknown." This is a clue that the mailing address county is different. If you googled "Stacy MN County" you would learn that the county for the mailing address city is Chisago County.
To see how "Mother’s residence information" and "Mother’s mailing address information" are used for County Health Tables and Vital Statistics Trends, please visit the Minnesota Center for Health Statistics (MCHS) website.