KERN COUNTY, Calif. — In 2006, the Safely Surrender Baby Law went into effect.
"The tagline is no name, no blame, no shame," said Department of Human Service's Jana Slagle.
The law allows birth parents to legally and anonymously surrender a baby to a fire station or emergency room within three days of its birth, no questions asked.
Slagle said the month of February is dedicated to spreading awareness about it.
“The whole purpose is just to let people know that if they’re in a crisis pregnancy, there is an option rather than abandoning your baby," she said.
Slagle said women who surrender a baby can range from ages 14 to 40. All sorts of situations can leave someone feeling incapable of caring for a newborn.
“We know that there [are] different circumstances. It could be a domestic violence situation. It could be poverty. It could be homelessness," said Slagle.
When you surrender a baby, there is an optional medical questionnaire.
“The purpose of that is so that the person adopting the baby has a little bit of information about the child's history," said Slagle.
Otherwise, no questions are asked.
You can reclaim a baby within two weeks of surrendering it. Slagle said that has happened eight times in Kern since 2006. Overall, ninety babies have been surrendered since then.
Throughout this month, DHS will be hosting virtual and in-person presentations on Safely Surrender Baby Awareness Month. Slagle said it’s an important topic for everyone to know.
“Even if it isn’t you yourself in a crisis situation, you can tell people you know," she said.
If you’d like to learn more or attend a presentation, click here.