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Safely Surrendered Babies

Safely Surrendered for Newborns is a law that allows you to give up your baby.
It's safe.
It's legal.
And, no one needs to know.

What is the Safely Surrendered Baby Law?

It’s a new law. Under this law, a person may surrender their baby confidentially without fear of arrest or prosecution for abandonment.

How does it work?

A distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant can legally, confidentially and safely surrender their baby within 3 days of birth. All that is required is that the baby be brought to any fire station or emergency room. If there are additional places, they will be listed on this brochure. A bracelet will be placed on the baby for identification. A matching bracelet will be given to the parent. The bracelet will help connect the parent to the baby if the parent wants the baby back.

Where can I take my baby if I want to surrender him/her?

Any local fire station or hospital emergency room.

Can only a parent bring in the baby?

In most cases, a parent will bring in the baby. The law allows another person to bring in the baby if they have lawful custody.

Does the parent have to call before bringing in the baby?

No. A parent can bring in a baby anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Does a parent have to tell anything to the people taking the baby?

No. Nothing is required. However, hospital personnel will give the parent a medical information questionnaire that is designed to gather family medical history. This could be very useful in caring for the child but it is up to the parent to complete it.

What happens to the baby?

The baby will be examined and given medical treatment, if needed. Then the baby will be placed in a foster or pre-adoptive home.

What happens to the parent?

Once the parent(s) has safely turned over the baby, they are free to go.

What if a parent wants the baby back?

The parent(s) may take the bracelet back to the hospital. Under the SSB Law, a parent has at least 14 days to claim his or her infant. Hospital personnel will provide information about the baby.

Why is California doing this?

The purpose of the Safely Surrendered Baby Law is to protect babies from being hurt or killed because they were abandoned.

You may have heard tragic stories of babies left in dumpsters or public toilets. The persons who committed these acts may have been under severe emotional distress. The mothers may have hidden their pregnancies, fearful of what would happen if their families found out. Because they were afraid and had nowhere to turn for help, they abandoned their infants.

Abandoning a baby puts the child in extreme danger. It is also illegal. Too often, it results in the baby’s death. Because of the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, this tragedy doesn’t ever have to happen in California again.

A Safely Surrendered Baby in California

At 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 25, 2002, a healthy newborn baby was brought to St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino under the provisions of the California Safely Surrendered Baby Law.

This baby was another child protected under California’s Safely Surrendered Baby Law. As the law states, the baby’s mother did not have to identify herself. When the baby was brought to the emergency room, he was examined by a pediatrician and was healthy and doing fine. He was placed in a foster home for short-term care while the adoption process was started.

Every baby deserves a chance for a
healthy life. If you or someone you know
is considering giving up a newborn,
learn about your options.

Certainly we want women to get proper medical care and counseling while they are pregnant, not after giving birth. But at the same time, we want parents to know that if they choose not to keep their baby, they will not go to jail for abandonment if they deliver the baby to safe hands in any emergency room or Fire Station in Kern County.

The California Safely Surrendered Baby Law:

  • Allows a distressed birth parent(s) to legally, confidentially, and safely surrender their baby
  • Provides a safe place for babies
  • Protects the parent(s) from arrest or prosecution for abandonment
  • Does not require that names be given when the baby is surrendered
  • Permits parents to bring a baby within 3 days of birth to any fire station or emergency room in Kern County.

In California, no one ever has to abandon a child again.

Safely Surrendered Baby Publications:

PUB 400 - Brochure
PUB 400 - Brochure (Spanish)

California Safely Surrendered Baby Law Website:

www.babysafe.ca.gov

 

Listen to Child Protective Services Assistant Director, Antanette Reed, discussing the Safely Surrendered Baby Law with local KERN talk radio personality, Jeff Lemucchi, February 21, 2013

Watch our 30-second Public Service Announcement:
"Don't Abandon Your Baby"   "No abandone a su bebé"

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