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Community Services

Safely Surrendered Baby Law

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Safely Surrendered Baby Law Overview

In 2001, the Safely Surrendered Baby Law was implemented in response to the increasing number of abandoned baby deaths in California as reported by various media agencies.

A parent may surrender a newborn to any on-duty firefighter or hospital emergency room employee within Alameda County. A parent who is unable or unwilling to care for a newborn can surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth without fear of being prosecuted, as long as the baby shows no signs of abuse or neglect. The purpose of this law is to provide a safe place for the newborn when a parent feels he or she can no longer handle the responsibility of caring for them.

How to Surrender a Newborn to an Alameda County Firefighter

A parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant can surrender it to an on-duty Alameda County firefighter within 72 hours of birth. There are two ways this can take place: either the newborn can be handed over to an on-duty firefighter at the fire station, or the parent can call 911 and a fire engine will be dispatched to their location.

Parents who change their minds can begin the process of reclaiming their infant within 14 days. The Safely Surrendered Baby Law protects the parent(s) from arrest or prosecution as long as the baby has not been abused or neglected. An individual or persons who abandon a newborn in any way other than described above are not protected by this law.

The Safely Surrendered Baby Law is intended to spare the life of a newborn by encouraging the parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender an infant at a safe surrender site within 72 hours of the child’s birth rather than abandoning them in a dangerous location.

If someone you know is considering abandoning a newborn, let them know there are options.

For fact sheets, legislation updates or additional information about the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, please visit http://www.babysafe.ca.gov/.

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