LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A program that allows parents to drop off unwanted babies at Los Angeles County firehouses and other locations is set to undergo an expansion, officials said Thursday.
Developed by Supervisor Don Knabe and unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2001, the Baby Safe Surrender program allows a parent or legal guardian to confidentially hand over an infant three days old or younger to any hospital emergency room or fire station in Los Angeles County.
Under the Safe Surrender program, any person may surrender the baby without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment as long as the baby has not been abused or neglected. The mother then has 14 days to come back and reclaim the child, which Knabe said has happened only once.
Since the program was established, 109 babies have been safely surrendered in L.A. County, with six of those so far in 2013, including the most recent surrender of a baby boy on Sept. 17 at a hospital in Van Nuys, according to Knabe.
The latest Safe Surrender expansion will seek to make the program more widely available and rely on a mix of traditional and grassroots awareness efforts, Knabe told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO.
“We’re gonna put it out in multiple languages, we still have our hotline 24/7,” Knabe said, adding the campaign will be featured on bumper stickers, trains, billboards, laundromat posters, and brochures.
One little boy, Nicholas, who was surrendered under the program, celebrated his fourth birthday earlier this month.
Click here for more information on the Safe Surrender program.