Safely Surrendered Baby Program

Photo of a baby hand wrapped around an adult thumb

The Safely Surrendered Baby Law responds to the increasing number of newborn infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe locations. First created in January 2001, the Safely Surrendered Baby Law was signed permanently into state law in January 2006. The law's intent is to save lives of newborn infants at risk of abandonment by encouraging parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked.

The Law

The Safely Surrendered Baby law (California Health and Safety Code, section 1255.7) provides a safe alternative for the surrender of a newborn baby in specified circumstances. Under the Safely Surrendered Baby law, a parent or person with lawful custody can safely surrender a baby confidentially, and without fear of prosecution, within 72 hours of birth.

The Safely Surrendered Baby law requires the baby be taken to a public or private hospital, designated fire station or other safe surrender site, as determined by the local County Board of Supervisors. No questions will be asked and California Penal Code Section 271.5 protects surrendering individuals from prosecution of abandonment.

The Process

At the time of surrender, a bracelet is placed on the baby for identification purposes and a matching bracelet provided to the parent or lawful guardian, in case the baby is reclaimed. A parent or person with lawful custody has up to 14 days from the time of surrender to reclaim their baby.

A medical questionnaire must be offered, however it is a voluntary document and can be declined. The questionnaire is offered solely for the purpose of collecting medical information critical to the health and survival of the infant. All identifying information that pertains to a parent or individual who surrenders a child is strictly confidential.

Surrendered Baby Law Fast Facts
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Blue SSB logo of an adult hand holding a baby in the outline of a homeTHERE IS AN OPTION. DON'T ABANDON YOUR BABY.
Safe surrender sites are required to display the blue and white logo above.

The toll-free telephone hotline number provides information and the locations of safe surrender sites. DIAL 1.877.BABY.SAF (1-877-222-9723)

Optional Medical Questionnaire

Although a person surrendering a baby under the Safely Surrendered Baby Law will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire, the form is optional and is intended solely for the purpose of collecting medical information critical to the health and survival of the child. Any information that may identify the person surrendering the baby will be removed in order to maintain that person's confidentiality.

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Contacts Us

For more information on the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, please contact the Child Welfare Policy and Program Development Bureau at (916) 651-6160.

For media inquiries, please call the Office of Public Affairs at (916) 657-2268.

SSB Publications

To order Safely Surrendered Baby posters and brochures, please visit SSB Publications.

Los Angeles County residents, please visit Los Angeles County Health Services.

Information and Resources

For more information and resources visit the Safely Surrendered Baby Program website. This resource is designed to assist county eligibility workers and other partners who provide services to the public.