On Sunday, February 8, at 5:48 a.m., the doorbell rang at Fire Station 45 in the City of Lakewood. At the door was a 40-year old man holding a newborn baby girl. The man had found the newborn abandoned near the Lakewood Mall and brought her to the fire station. Although this event did not meet the criteria of a Safe Surrender, the life of this little girl was saved. She was evaluated by firefighters and found to be in good medical condition. She was taken to a local hospital for further medical evaluation, and will be placed into a loving adoptive home.
In order for a newborn to be considered a Safe Surrender, a parent or adult with legal custody needs to surrender the baby at any hospital or fire station in Los Angeles County. The law requires that a parent or guardian can surrender the baby three days old or younger without fear of arrest of prosecution for child abandonment. For this reason, this newborn baby girl will not be considered a Safe Surrender case, but an abandonment.
Hospitals and fire stations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, are are staffed with medical professionals, which is why they were selected to be the best locations for Safe Surrender sites. When surrendering a baby, the guardian or parent is asked to voluntarily fill out a medical history form with no names required. The baby undergoes a medical exam when surrendered at a hospital or fire station. Parents and guardians are also given an opportunity to reclaim their baby within 14 days by calling the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.
On Tuesday, January 27, at 9:28 p.m., our Department did welcome a Safe Surrender baby, when a woman surrendered a newborn baby boy to Fire Station 57 in the City of Southgate. The child was fully clothed and wrapped in a blanket. Paramedics assessed the newborn and found him to be in outstanding health. This was an excellent example of a Safe Surrender. While working in our communities, please continue to spread the word about the Safe Surrender Program, reminding residents about this viable option for ending newborn abandonment. Remember “No Shame. No Blame. No Names.”