Evelyn V. Martinez, First 5 LA executive director, is issuing a? public reminder that there are safe, confidential alternatives to abandonment of unwanted babies.
California's Safely Surrendered Baby (SSB) Law allows a parent or anyone authorized by a parent to confidentially surrender an infant, within three days of birth, to any hospital or fire station. The law guarantees anonymity and freedom from prosecution in these instances, if there are no signs of abuse or neglect.
"As an advocacy organization seeking to protect children, First 5 LA wants to remind the public that there is a toll-free hotline to call to find out the nearest surrender site for newborns," said tor. The Safely Surrendered Baby hotline at (877) BABY-SAFE, or (877) 222-9723.
The baby girl found in Hollywood is the first abandoned deceased infant found this year. According to LA County records, there were four such newborn deaths last year, and seven each in 2003 and 2004.
Since the SSB Law took effect in 2001, there have been 36 newborns surrendered safely, 35 of whom have survived and been placed in adoptive homes. One infant was reclaimed by her mother within the 14 day-period allowed by law.
More than two years ago, First 5 LA led a county-wide task force in launching a $500,000 public information campaign in Spanish and English to educate county employees, community groups and the public about the Safely Surrendered Baby Law. First 5 California has also been instrumental in increasing public awareness about the law. For more information, visit www.babysafela.org.
First 5 LA, created by California voters, is a unique child advocacy organization that invests tobacco tax revenues for programs to improve the lives of children prenatal through 5 in Los Angeles County. First 5 LA champions health, education and safety issues benefiting young children and families.
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