The Safely Surrendered Baby Law (also known as the Safe Haven Law or Newborn Abandonment Law) was signed into law by Governor Davis in September 2000 and went into effect on January 1, 2001. The purpose of the law is to protect babies from being hurt or killed because they were abandoned. The law allows a parent or legal guardian to confidentially surrender an infant, three days old or younger, to any hospital emergency room or other designated Safe Surrender site. As long as the baby has not been abused or neglected, the person may surrender the baby without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment.

On August 1, 2003, legislation was enacted in the State of California that strengthens the existing Safely Surrendered Baby Law.

For more information on California's Safely Surrendered Baby Law, see the synopsis of Senate Bill 1368 below:

SB 1368: Safely Surrendered Baby Law

  • SB 139: Amending the Safely Surrendered Baby Law
  • Expanding the criteria for safe surrender personnel authorized to accept physical custody of an infant to " any personnel on-duty at a safe surrender site" as opposed to " designated staff."
  • Protecting the confidentiality of a parent who surrenders a child
  • Requiring safe surrender sites to post uniform signage
  • Requiring a safe surrender site to notify child protective services as soon as possible after an infant has been surrendered
  • Requiring child protective services to report information regarding the surrendered infant to the California Missing Children Clearinghouse and National Crime Information Center
  • Clarifying that possession of the identification bracelet does not establish parentage or a right to custody of the child.