Petition for Return of Custody After Relinquishing Child as a Newborn

Under the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act, 325 ILCS 2/25, one can relinquish a newborn infant to a hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility with immunity, anonymity, and without a presumption of abuse.

 

No sooner than sixty (60) days after relinquishment, the Department (Illinois Department of Children and Family Services) will commence proceedings for the termination of parental rights and placement of the infant for adoption.  To petition for the return of custody of a newborn relinquished under this act, a parent must file before the termination of parental rights.  Specifically, the parent must contact the Department for the purpose of obtaining the name of the child-placing agency and then file a petition for return of custody in the circuit court in which the proceeding for the termination of parental rights is pending.

 

The circuit court may then hold the proceeding for the termination of parental rights in abeyance for a period not to exceed 60 days from the date that the petition for return of custody was filed, without a showing of good cause.  During that period:

  1. The court shall order genetic testing to establish maternity or paternity, or both.
  2. The Department shall conduct a child protective investigation and home study to develop recommendations to the court.
  3. When indicated as a result of the Department’s investigation and home study, further proceedings under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987, as the court determines appropriate, may be conducted.  However, relinquishment of a newborn infant in accordance with this Act does not render the infant abused, neglected, or abandoned solely because the newborn was relinquished to a hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility in accordance with this Act.

 

Finally, pursuant to 325 ILCS 2/55, no action to void or revoke the termination of parental rights of a parent of a newborn infant relinquished in accordance with this Act, including an action based on fraud, may be commenced after 12 months after the date that the newborn infant was initially relinquished to a hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility.

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