The Kern County Board of Supervisors will proclaim next week the month of February as “Safely Surrendered Baby Awareness Month.”
The Safely Surrendered Baby Law responds to the situation of newborn infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe locations. First signed into law in January 2001, the Safely Surrendered Baby Law became permanent in January 2006. The law’s intent is to save the 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. Throughout Kern County, a newborn baby can be safely surrendered into the hands of any hospital emergency room or Fire Station staff.
The law exists so that these infants will not be harmed because the mother abandons them, or fails to provide them with care, sometimes leaving them to die.
Since the Kern County Department of Human Services began tracking it in 2006, 90 babies have been safely surrendered in Kern County, including 6 in 2021.
“Our 2022 campaign will include presentations throughout our county as well as a movie theater and radio campaign,” the department said in a news release.
Additional information about the Safely Surrender Baby Law and the campaign presentation locations can be found at www.KCDHS.org.
The Safely Surrendered Baby Coalition, under the coordination of the Department of Human Services, works to educate all Kern County residents about this important law. The coalition is made up of a small group of dedicated individuals representing a long list of agencies, non-profits, hospitals, and stakeholders, including First 5 Kern, Kern Family Health Care, Kern County Fire Department, Bakersfield City Fire Department, Adventist Health Hospitals – Bakersfield, Delano and Tehachapi, Dignity Health Mercy & Memorial Hospitals, Kern Medical, Bakersfield Pregnancy Center and Kern County Right to Life.