NEWS RELEASE

FROM:
Karyn Sinunu, Assistant District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON:
Daniel T. Nishigaya, Deputy District Attorney
Physical Abuse of Children & Elders Unit
(408) 792-2543   For release on July 14, 2004     PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT CONFIDENTIAL SAFE SURRENDER OF NEWBORN   California law allows a parent to confidentially surrender a newborn baby to a safe surrender site at a public or private hospital within three days of birth. A parent who voluntarily surrenders a newborn is not required to provide any personal identifying information. Any identifying information willingly provided will be kept confidential. A parent who complies with the safe surrender law cannot be prosecuted for child abandonment or failing to provide for the child. The parent may seek to reclaim the child within two weeks.   Two recent cases in Santa Clara County emphasize the need to increase public awareness of the law regarding confidential and safe surrender of a newborn:   In June 2004, police received a 911 call directing them to an abandoned newborn baby in a shopping cart behind a bar in San Jose. Sheriff’s investigators later learned that the caller was the baby’s mother. Fortunately, the baby was not injured.   In July 2004, police responded to the scene of a dead newborn infant found wrapped in a plastic garbage bag and abandoned near a fence between a hotel and a condominium complex in Palo Alto. Murder charges have been filed.   The voluntary safe surrender law is designed to protect babies from unsafe and illegal abandonment and to offer a confidential and legal alternative to parents who believe they have no other options. Every baby deserves a chance for a healthy life.   # # #

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