This Safely Surrendered Baby Report to the Legislature provides updates on Safely Surrendered and abandoned infants in 2015 and 2016 and reports out for the first time on infants who were surrendered or abandoned in 2017. Safely Surrendered Babies A Safely Surrendered Baby is defined by the following criteria:
- 72 hours of age or younger AND
- Voluntarily surrendered by a parent or an individual with lawful custody AND
- Surrendered to personnel on duty at a designated safe surrender site
Data Collection for Safe Surrenders:
- Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS)
In All County Letter 02-01, counties were instructed to track all Safely Surrendered Babies using the CWS/CMS data system. On a quarterly basis, the CDSS reviews data that has been entered into the SSB Special Project Code in CWS/CMS. Additionally, CDSS regularly reviews all children who are identified as “abandoned” in CWS/CMS to ensure that all babies who are surrendered are appropriately identified and recorded.
- State of California (SOC) 880 forms
In 2012, the CDSS began requesting counties to report Safe Surrendered Babies using the SOC 880 form. This form is filled out by the county social worker and submitted to CDSS via confidential email. The information in the SOC 880s is reconciled with the data pulled from CWS/CMS each quarter.
The data on abandoned infants in this report includes children who meet the following criteria:
- One year of age or younger AND
- Abandoned in a public or private location and survive the abandonment OR
- Deceased as the result of infanticide, lack of attention following delivery or exposure to the elements following abandonment.
Excluded from data collection are the following cases:
- Infants “abandoned” in the care of persons, even those who are strangers to the parent.
- Safely Surrendered Baby – 2017 Report to the Legislature 5 January 2019
Data Collection for Infant Abandonments:
Abandoned infants are tracked in the CWS/CMS system with the allegation of “Caretaker Absence/Incapacity.” The CDSS staff reviews these cases to determine which meet the definitions listed above.
The CDSS also monitors and tracks statewide media for reports of abandoned infants.
- Sources for Data on Abandoned Deceased Infants
Information on abandoned deceased infants is additionally obtained through SOC 826 reports submitted to the CDSS for the purposes of reporting a child fatality, and data from the Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect Surveillance (FCANS) system, maintained by the Department of Public Health.