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UPDATED: Mother leaves baby at hospital

Posted: September 10, 2008 10:35 p.m.
Updated: November 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 
A mother safely surrendered her infant to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, according to Supervisor Michael Antonovich's office.

The child will be handed over to the county Department of Children and Family Services.

Under the county's "Safe Surrender" program, newborns can be turned over to personnel at county fire stations or area hospitals with no questions asked and no penalties assessed.

The county initiated the program after a series of cases in which abandoned newborns were found dead or dying in trash Dumpsters.

The mother of the infant is reported to have learned about the Safe Surrender program through a brochure.

The child will be fast-tracked for adoption, said Helen Berberian, children's deputy for Antonovich. Families looking to adopt children are pre-screened, and Safe Surrender babies go through a 14-day process before being placed with families, she said.

However, the mother can apply to reinstate guardianship within the 14 days, Berberian said. Such a case would be reviewed by a social worker, she said.

The Safe Surrender program has saved untold numbers of children, said Tony Bell, spokesman for Antonovich. Children were dying from hypothermia and exposure because there was not a safe place to surrender children to authorities, he said.

"It was a sad situation," he said.

"This is another example of how this vital county program saved a life that may have been abandoned," Antonovich said in a statement.

For more information on Safe Surrender, call 877-BABY SAFE (877-222-9723) or visit babysafela.org.
bcharles@the-signal.com

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