Safely Surrendered Babies

Baby in basket.jpg

The Safely Surrendered Baby Law allows a parent or person with lawful custody to surrender a baby confidentially, without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment.

This law allows for at least a 14-day cooling off period, which begins the day the child is voluntarily surrendered.

During this period, the person who surrendered the child can return to the hospital to reclaim the child.



 Safe Surrender Site Logo


All hospitals are Safe Surrender Sites

Fire Stations

Other locations, like fire stations can also be Safe Surrender Sites


What is the Safely Surrender Baby Law?


  • Allows you to take the newborn to a safe place if you cannot care for him or her
  • It is legal, confidential and free
  • The baby will be placed in a loving adoptive home and you will be free to go.
  • No shame, no blame, no names!



What happens to the baby?

The baby is examined and given medical treatment, if needed.  The county Child Welfare agency will find a caring family to take care of the baby.  If an adoptive family is not available right away, the baby will be placed with a temporary foster family until an adoptive family is located.


What happens to the parents?

One the parent or other person w/ lawful custody has safely turned over the baby, they are freed to go, with no questions asked.  NO Shame, NO Blame, NO Names!


What happens if the parent changes their mind?

A parent or other person w/ lawful custody has 14 days to change their mind.  They should bring their copy of the coded bracelet back to the safe surrender site or call (887) 222-9723 and say they want to regain custody.


Can only a parent surrender the baby?

No.  If you are not able for any reason to bring the baby to a safe surrender site yourself, you can permit another person with lawful custody to surrend4er the baby for you.


What information is needed?

None.  You will be offered a voluntary medical questionnaire.  This will help the doctors provide the best care for the baby.


Is there another choice?  

Yes.  Adoption is always a choice.  Adoption preserves the rights of all involved.  Parent have the right to assist in selecting the adoptive parents and may be allowed to have contact with the baby after the adoption, if desired.




The California Safely Surrendered Baby Law Fast Facts:


  • Permits the parent(s) or other person with lawful custody to safely and confidentially surrender a baby with three days of birth.
  • Provides a safe place for babies
  • Protects the parent(s) or other person with lawful custody from prosecution for child abandonment.
  • Does not require that names be given when the baby is surrendered.
  • Allows the parent(s) or other person with lawful custody 14 days to change their mind.


Safely Surrendered Baby Law Fast Facts 

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You may have heard stories about babies being abandoned in unsafe locations.

The parents abandoning their baby were often panicked, had no support for their pregnancy or feared what would happen if someone found out they were pregnant.

But, abandonment is illegal and puts a baby in extreme danger.

The Safely Surrendered Baby Law helps caregivers in need by giving them a safe, legal way to place their baby for adoption quickly and in private.


If you or someone you know wants to surrender a baby, please take the child to any hospital emergency room. Remember: no shame, no blame, no names . . . it’s the law.

If you would like to know more information about the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, please visit State of California Safely Surrendered Baby Program