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February is Safely Surrender Baby Awareness Month in Kern County

Kern County Human Services Bakersfield– – On February 6, 2024, the Kern County Board of Supervisors will proclaim February Safely Surrendered BabyAwareness Month in Kern County. Additionally, the Safely Surrendered Baby (SSB) Coalition is holding a live Press Conference on

Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. at Kern County Fire Station #65, 10051 Meacham Road, Bakersfield, CA 93312.

Since 2008, 98 babies have been safely surrendered in Kern County, including three in 2023. The Safe Surrender Baby Law responds to the situation of newborn infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe locations. First signed into law in January 2001, the Safely Surrender Baby Law became permanent in 2006. The law intends to save the lives of newborn infants at risk of abandonment by encouraging parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked. The law exists so that these infants will not be harmed because the mother abandons them or fails to provide them with care, potentially resulting in the death of the child.

Available data for the state of California indicates a generally decreasing trend of abandonments since the enactment of the SSB Law in California, from 25 cases in 2002 to five or fewer cases per year since 2010, representing a decrease of at least 80%.

Throughout Kern County, a newborn baby (up to three days old) can be safely surrendered to the hands of any hospital emergency room or fire station personnel. The Safely Surrendered Baby Coalition, under the leadership of the Department of Human Services, works to educate all Kern County residents about this important law. For information on SSB locations throughout the county, visit www.kcdhs.org/ssb.

The SSB coalition is made up of a group of dedicated individuals representing a long list of agencies, non-profits, and stakeholders, including First 5 Kern, Kern Family Health Care, Kern Medical Hospital, Clinica Sierra Vista, Koinonia Family Services, and Kern County.

Public Health, Kern County Fire Department, Bakersfield City Fire Department, Adventist Health Hospitals, Dignity Health Mercy & Memorial Hospitals, Bakersfield Pregnancy Center, Kern County Right to Life, and Ridgecrest Regional Hospital.

We invite you to share this message throughout the community to educate individuals about this important option for any woman and baby in crisis.

Don’t abandon your baby. Safely surrender your baby into the hands of any fire station or hospital emergency room personnel.

No names. No blame. No shame.