Safe Surrender Law offers options to new mothers
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Ten babies were safely surrendered in the past five years in San Diego.
Firefighters respond to emergencies all over town, but their home bases serve as a drop off point for newborns. It is all part of the state’s surrender law.
Any parent can drop off an infant up to three-days-old, as long as they are not abused or neglected.
“Our personnel have been trained no questions asked, not be accusatory or implying anything toward parents because we don’t want them to take the alternative route,” said Deputy Chief Colin Stowell.
The law expanded in 2008 in San Diego, to include every fire station as an option. That is 200 additional places where babies will be taken care of. All parents have to do, is look for the blue sign.
“You are talking about parents unwilling or unable to care for infants, if we can provide some help and a better end we are more than welcome to do that,” said Deputy Chief Colin Stowell.
Every hospital is also a safe drop off point. No questions asked if the child is healthy.
Emotions and hormones run wild after birth, so if a baby is turned in because a parent is overwhelmed, there is a special armband placed on that child at Rady Children’s Hospital, just in case parents change their minds.
“If after a day or two there are second thoughts or family involvement, and that person wants to try to get the child back, there is a path to reunification. –with no punishment–with no punishment if within 72 hours,” said Michelle.
The doors to other safe options for newborns if parents cannot take care of them, are never closed.
Once the babies are examined in the hospital, they are housed until they are placed in the foster system to wait for their forever homes.