ICAN is responsible for notifying the Board of Supervisors, Chief Administrative Office, and others of safe surrenders and abandonments, as well as collecting and analyzing data on these cases and preparing an annual written report to the Board of Supervisors.  ICAN is also responsible for responding to the various inquires for information and public information material from the County of Los Angeles Safely Surrendered Baby Law website known as BabySafeLA. 


Safely Surrendered and Abandoned Infants Los Angeles County 2001 – 2017

Safely Surrendered and Abandoned Infants in Los Angeles County – 2017


What is the Safely Surrendered Baby (SSB) Law?

Parents can bring a baby within 3 days of birth to any LA County hospital emergency room or fire station. The baby must be handed to a staff person. Also, if for some reason, the parent can’t bring the baby to the fire station or hospital emergency room, she may give the baby to a responsible adult to do so – this is called “lawful custody” and this is allowed under the Law.


How does the Law work?

As long as the baby has not been abused or neglected, no names will be necessary and the parents will not be arrested or prosecuted. The surrendering party is given an id bracelet to match the infants in case the mother wants to reclaim the infant within the 14 days allowed under the Law. Parents are also asked to complete and return a medical questionnaire. This form is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian.  


Can the surrendering party leave the baby in a safe location and contact the hospital or fire station to notify them where the baby was left?

No, the law requires that physical custody of infants must be safely surrendered to “personnel on duty at a surrender site.”  


What if a parent changes his/her mind and wants to “reclaim” the infant?

The law allows for a 14-day “cooling off” period, in which the surrendering party may return to the surrender site to reclaim the child. Department of Children and Family Services will assist the mother with this process.


How are safe surrender sites identified?

Each hospital and participating fire station is required to post a sign utilizing a statewide logo adopted by the State Department of Social Services in a visible location. Surrender site locations are listed at www.babysafela.org or by calling: 1-877-222-9723.  


What is the difference between Safe Surrender and Voluntary Relinquishment?

There are several differences between the two. The end result is adoption with either choice; however, voluntary relinquishment is the better option. With voluntary relinquishment, identifying information is shared with the agency or attorney handling the adoption. The parents can participate in choosing a family and, if needed, is allowed up to 6 months time to carefully consider their decision. During the 6 months, the parent’s rights remain in place. With SSBL, a parent has only 14 days to reclaim and the baby. Also, the sharing of identifying information sets the ground work for using Post Adoption Services. Often adoptees want to seek out more information about their birth family history or explore possible contact. This is all possible with voluntary relinquishment. With Safe Surrenders, the surrendering party is given a medical questionnaire and asked to complete and return. These forms do not have any identifying information and often times are not completed. If they are not completed this means the infant and his/her adoptive family will not have the advantage of this medical background information. With voluntary relinquishment a social worker works with the birth parents to gather background information and a detailed medical history.  


Public information What can be done to get the word out?

Efforts to reach the public have included public service announcements, bumper stickers, brochures transit ads, and creation of a website (www.babysafela.org). Individuals, organizations, educational institutions and churches can help by getting the word out about this law. Public information material is available by contacting ICAN. 


Is more information about the Safely Surrendered Infant Law available?

Yes, information is available at www.babysafela.org.  

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