A young woman that gave birth to healthy newborn twins surrendered them to the San Bernardino Fire Station 302 on Jan. 28 with no questions asked, according to San Bernardino County Fire’s Facebook page.
At the time, the mother told firefighters that she had given birth to the twins and wanted to leave them under safe surrender.
Fire Station 302 is a safe haven site that has been set up under the Safe Haven Law.
The babies were clean, healthy and recently fed. The fire department took them to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.
When the mother released her babies to the fire station, she was told she could reclaim them if she changed her mind within 14 days. This is part of the safe surrender law that has been put in place in the state.
“This is exactly why the Safe Surrender program was created,” Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said.
“This young mother did the right thing by bringing her babies to the fire station. Regardless of your circumstances, the Safe Surrender program is a viable and loving option—no questions asked.”
Under the Safe Haven Law, mothers are protected when they surrender their children from any prosecution as long as they surrender their baby to a designed safe surrender site within 72 hours of the child’s birth.
At the time of surrender, the parent or legal guardian and the baby each receive a confidentially coded ankle bracelet that allows parents to reclaim their baby within 14 days when they bring the bracelet back to the safe surrender site.
All babies surrendered do receive a medical examination and are placed in foster care or a pre-adoptive home.
The Safe Haven Law was created to prevent mothers from abandoning their unwanted babies – an illegal act that could harm their child and result in death.
According to NTD, a total of 3,524 newborns were surrendered under Safe Haven Laws from 1999 to 2018. A total of 1,397 newborns were illegally abandoned while 773 newborns were found dead and 463 newborns found alive, according to the National Safe Haven Alliance.
“You may have heard stories about babies being left in dumpsters, public toilets, or other unsafe locations,” the California Department of Social Services website said.
“The parents abandoning their babies may have been under severe emotional or financial stress. The mothers may have hidden their pregnancies, fearful of what would happen if their families found out. Because they were afraid and felt they had nowhere to turn for help, they abandoned their baby.”
The state of California introduced the Safe Haven Law in 2001, signing it into law in 2006. Since the California Safe Haven Law was introduced, a total of 931 newborns have been surrendered in the state. Of these babies, 33 have been reclaimed since 2001.
“One hundred and forty-nine families have been blessed, 149 mothers made the right decision, 149 children have the right to grow up and be whatever they want to be because of the love and the care of the safe-surrender families,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe said in a video posted to the L.A. County Safe Surrender Facebook page.
The San Bernardino County fire stations were designated safe haven sites in 2004. These sites have full-time staff and are marked with a safe surrender sign. Fire stations that do not have full-time staff are not designated safe-surrender sites, however, these stations have phones outside that connect directely to the dispatch center.
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