County officials have announced a newborn baby boy was safely surrendered at a Santa Monica hospital on April 10.

This is the second safe surrender in Santa Monica year and the third in recent months. A baby girl was given to a local hospital on March 14 and a local hospital also received a baby boy in December of 2015.

Under the program, anyone with legal custody of a child can drop off the baby at a hospital or fire station within 72 hours of birth. Whoever surrenders the child is asked to fill out a voluntary and anonymous medical history to help provide medical care but the form is not required. The adult is given an I.D. bracelet that matches one fastened to the baby’s ankle to allow the adult to reclaim the baby within 14 days of surrender should they change their mind. Surrendered children are given a medical exam, placed in a safe home and are eligible for adoption.

The program is designed to protect the lives of babies born to parents who are unable to care for them.

More than 145 children have been surrendered since the program began 14 years ago. Over the same time, 77 babies have been abandoned and of those only 19 have survived.

The program was initiated by Supervisor Knabe and approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in 2001.

“I am thrilled to hear that a mother made the better choice and gave her son a second chance at life by safely surrendering him at the hospital,” said Supervisor Knabe in a statement. “Thanks to the courage of this mother, a baby boy now has the opportunity to grow up in a loving family. Though we’ve been able to save the lives of 145 babies so far, we need to continue spreading the word that there is a safe, secure and anonymous way for mothers to get their baby into safe hands—at any fire station or hospital, any time—and protect them from abandonment—No Shame. No Blame. No Names.”

The program is deliberately anonymous and surrender sites do not collect any information from the adults. Adults that surrender a child face no repercussions and officials said the system is designed to encourage overwhelmed parents to surrender their child in a way that maximized the baby’s chance for success.

To learn more about the Safe Surrender Program, visit BabySafeLA.org.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...