Contra Costa County Designates New Sites to Protect Infants Under Safely Surrendered Baby Law
August 1, 2003
Contra Costa County officials are expected to designate fire stations and Kaiser medical offices in Contra Costa County as sites under the state's Safely Surrendered Baby (SSB) law. This action, which is expected to be taken on Tuesday, August 5 at the Board of Supervisors' meeting, builds on the Board's designations made in March of county-run health centers and county-operated fire stations. It expands the number of designated sites from the original eight hospital emergency departments to 88 sites spread throughout the county. Contra Costa is only the fourth county in the state to designate sites beyond hospital emergency departments for an unwanted infant to be safely surrendered.
California's SSB law, signed by Governor Gray Davis in 2000, allows a parent or person with lawful custody to safely surrender their newborn infant within the first 72 hours after birth to any California hospital emergency room or other designated location without the threat of prosecution for child abandonment. The law was designed to protect infants from being abandoned by distraught parents and potentially being hurt or killed. (For addresses of designated sites or other community resources, call the Contra Costa Crisis Center at 800-833-2900 or visit http://cchealth.org. For information about the law call 925-370-5012.)
"Our county is doing everything we can to give a desperate mother as many options as possible," said Supervisor Federal Glover. "This law will save newborns from being abandoned in unsafe places." Staff from the newly designated sites have received training on the law and "Surrender Kits" prepared by the Antioch Woman's Club with materials and supplies required for accepting an infant. A universal "into safe arms" emblem depicting an infant held in an extended hand will be displayed by participating facilities throughout Contra Costa County. The Antioch Woman's Club is working with Alameda County on a similar approach.
County officials have been working with county and community agencies including Health Services, Contra Costa Fire Protection District, First 5 Contra Costa, the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County, the Perinatal Council, the Woman's Club of Antioch, and others to make the public more aware of how the SSB law works.
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