VENTURA, Calif. – Occasionally parents face difficult and desperate circumstances and find they are not ready or able to raise a newborn. These parents have the option under the Safely Surrendered Baby Law to legally and safely surrender their newborn baby within three days of their birth (72 hours) at various Ventura County locations without fear or arrest. Any Ventura County Fire Department fire station, Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital are designated as Safe Havens for surrendered babies.
“The Safe Surrender process provides parents with an immediate option should they feel they aren’t able to care for their newborns,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “While we also encourage new parents who recognize that they may not be able to adequately care for their child to also consider adoption, the Safe Surrender process is a life-saving measure that prevents what could otherwise be a tragic outcome for many newborns. Our County resource, www.babysafevc.org, has answers to the questions these parents are looking for about the surrender process.”
The surrender process is simple and protects both the parent and the baby. When a baby is surrendered at a Safe Haven, a confidential, coded ankle bracelet will be place on the infant. The surrendering parent will be given a medical questionnaire and a bracelet that matches the one given to the baby. The brief questionnaire is voluntary and designed to collect medical information critical to the health and survival of the baby, not its identity. The confidential bracelets allow a surrendering parent to reclaim the baby within 14 days.
It is important that any parent who wants to surrender their baby know they can do so anonymously, but the infant must be received at the Safe Haven by an actual individual on duty. Leaving a baby unattended is considered child abandonment and the Safely Surrendered Baby law will not apply, leaving the parent unprotected from the law.
The Safe Surrender process protects newborns from abandonment, giving them a second chance at life. Newborns can be safely surrendered throughout the county. Information about safe surrender locations can be found at www.babysafevc.org. Information is available in English and Spanish. As well, the State of California provides information at www.cdss.ca.gov/Safe-Surrender-Baby.