Wednesday, February 13, 2019 2:39 PM

What You Need To Know About California’s Safely Surrendered Baby Law



Almost 1,000 babies have been safely surrendered since California’s Safely Surrendered Baby Law was created in 2001.  Its intent is to save lives and prevent babies from being abandoned in unsafe locations.

The law encourages parents or persons with legal custody of the baby to safely surrender a baby within 72 hours of birth to an appropriate facility in order to save lives. It is safe, completely confidential and legal.

By following the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, the parent or person with legal custody is protected from prosecution for child abandonment.

“Community Medical Centers' Emergency Department staff have been trained to accept your decision without passing any judgment. We have access to the resources that will ensure your child is taken care of and will provide any medical treatment that is needed,” said Community Regional Medical Center Emergency Department director Garth Wade.

“This law is intended to protect the health and well-being of newborn babies and we respect the courage it takes to make that decision.”

According to the California Department of Social Services, reported abandonment cases have dropped 80% since the law went into effect in 2001.

How the Safely Surrendered Baby Law works (from the Office of Child Abuse Prevention)

  • Parent or person with legal custody may drop off newborn at safe surrender site within 72 hours of birth with no questions asked
  • Take the baby to an employee at a hospital or other safe surrender site (usually fire stations)
  • State that you would like to safely surrender the baby. The employee will give you and the baby matching ID bracelets. This will help you reconnect with the baby if you change your mind
  • You will be provided with an optional medical questionnaire. This information can help keep the baby safe and healthy
  • Then, you are free to go – there are no other requirements

Click here for more information on safely surrendering a baby.