Safely Surrender a Baby
What is this service?
The Safely Surrendered Baby law allows a parent or person with lawful custody to safely surrender a baby confidentially, and without fear of prosecution for child abandonment, at a “safe surrender site” within 72 hours of birth.
Who can use this service?
A parent or person with lawful custody of a newborn (within 72 hours of birth) may use this service.
Is there a charge for this service?
This service is provided free of charge.
When and where is this service offered?
For Safe Surrender Site locations throughout California call:
(1-877-BABYSAF) or (1-877-222-9723).
Location, directions and hours of operation
Click on location name to show hours of operation, directions and phone information
Arroyo Grande Community Hospital
345 S. Halcyon Road Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
French Hospital Medical Center
1911 Johnson Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center
1010 Murray Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Twin Cities Community Hospital
1100 Las Tablas Road Templeton, CA 93465
Frequently Asked Questions
Can only a parent bring in the baby?
No. The law allows another person to safely surrender the baby if the person has permission from the parent.
How does this process work?
A parent who is unable or unwilling to care for their baby can safely surrender the baby within three (3) days of birth. All that is required is that the baby be given to an on-duty employee of a hospital or safe surrender site in California. A confidentially coded ID bracelet will be placed on the baby’s ankle and a matching bracelet offered to the surrendering person should the parent want the baby back within 14 days of surrender.
What are the guidelines for safely surrendering a baby?
The following are guidelines for Safely Surrendering a Baby:
- Surrender is within three (3) days of the baby’s birth
- Surrender is at “safe surrender site” – includes hospitals, fire stations, or other safe surrender sites
- Baby must be given to an on-duty employee
- Confidentially coded ID bracelet will be placed on the baby’s ankle and a matching bracelet offered to the surrendering person
- Does not require that names be given when the baby is surrendered
- Allows the parent or surrendering person to go free without any questions asked once they receive the bracelet
- Allows the parent or surrendering person up to 14 days from the time of surrender to bring back the coded bracelet to the safe surrender site to reclaim the baby
What happens if a parent wants the baby back?
Under the law, a parent or surrendering person has 14 days to reclaim the baby. They should bring their copy of the coded bracelet back to the safe surrender site.
What happens to the baby?
After receiving a confidentially coded ankle bracelet, the baby is examined and given medical treatment, if needed. The baby is then placed in a foster or pre-adoptive home.
What happens to the parent?
Once the parent or surrendering person has safely turned over the baby, they are free to go, without any questions asked.
What information must be given to the people accepting the baby?
None. No information is required but the person surrendering the baby will be given a medical information questionnaire to complete. Completion of questionnaire is voluntary, although the information regarding family medical history can assist in properly caring for the baby.
Contact Social Services
Child and Adult Hotline Information:
- If you suspect there is an emergency requiring immediate intervention, call 911
- To report suspected child abuse or neglect call the 24 hour Child Abuse Hotline at (805) 781-KIDS (5437) or toll free 1-800-834-KIDS (5437)
- To report suspected elder abuse or neglect call the Adult Services Hotline at (805) 781-1790 during regular business hours, or after business hours call (844) 729-8011