Safe-Surrender Site Law and Legal Definition

All safe haven statutes specifically provide where a baby may be relinquished. Some state laws allow a newborn to be handed to a doctor or church, and others mention specific places in the hospital such as an emergency room with a nurse where the newborn may be abandoned. Commonly, hospitals, manned fire house, on duty police stations, church, adoption agencies, and health care providers are considered to be safe locations. Such locations are called Safe-Surrender Site. However, newborn abandonment will be legal only if it is in accordance with the concerned state law.

The following is an example of a state statute defining the term:

The term “safe-surrender site” as defined in Cal Health & Saf Code § 1255.7 means a designated employee on duty at a public or private hospital emergency room or any other location designated by the Board of Supervisors of the county.

The law specifically states:

(1) For purposes of this section, “safe-surrender site” means either of the following:

(A) A location designated by the board of supervisors of a county to be responsible for accepting physical custody of a minor child who is 72 hours old or younger from a parent or individual who has lawful custody of the child and who surrenders the child pursuant to Section 271.5 of the Penal Code.

(B) A location within a public or private hospital that is designated by that hospital to be responsible for accepting physical custody of a minor child who is 72 hours old or younger from a parent or individual who has lawful custody of the child and who surrenders the child pursuant to Section 271.5 of the Penal Code.