City signs proclamtion for Safe Surrender Awareness Month in Kern County.
Taft is joining other cities around the county in drawing attention to the California Safely Surrendered Baby Law.
Tuesday night the Taft City Council approved a proclamation endorsing Safe Surrender Awareness Month in Kern County.
The Safely Surrendered Baby Law responds to the increasing number of newborn infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe locations. Babies can be safely surrendered to any Kern County Fire Station or hospital emergency room within 72 hours of birth free from fear of prosecution for child abandonment.
First created in January 2001, the Safely Surrendered Baby Law was signed permanently into state law in January 2006. The law’s intent is to save 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, sometimes leaving them to die.
This year, the Safely Surrendered Baby Coalition has put on a series of events throughout Kern County to bring attention to this important law.
Taft and Tehachapi both proclaimed February as Safely Surrendered Baby Awareness Month at their council meetings. Those cities joined the Kern County Board of Supervisors and the cities of Arvin, Bakersfield, Delano, and Ridgecrest in making this proclamation.
To date, 26 babies have been safely surrendered in Kern County since the coalition began tracking those babies in 2006. Four babies were safely surrendered in 2011. There has been one infant safely surrendered this year.
Since the law was put into place, the task of educating our Kern County residents about this law has fallen to a coalition of dedicated individuals representing a long list of departments, non-profits, hospitals, and stakeholders.