Humboldt Bay Fire release:

On November 19th 2020 a newborn baby was safely surrendered to Humboldt Bay Fire Station 1 on C St. in Eureka. Since the inception of the Safe Surrender program for HBF in 2013, this was the first experience the department had with activation of the protocol. All Humboldt Bay Fire Stations are designed as drop-off sites for “safely surrendered babies.” The California Safely Surrendered Baby Law allows a parent or other individual having lawful custody of a child 72 hours or younger to voluntarily surrender physical custody of the child to any firefighter on duty at any of our stations. This may be done discretely without fear of judgement or prosecution for child abandonment.

After the child was transported for further assessment to the hospital and entry into the county’s system, HBF personnel did not know the outcome of the child’s story.

On Thursday November 10th 2022, nearly two years after the incident, the child surrendered that day paid a visit to Station 1 with their newly adoptive parents. As luck would have it, when the visit was made the firefighter who received the child that day was on duty in the administrative offices of Station 1 and was able to meet the child, now nearly 2 years old, and their new family. The emotional visit was welcome closure to the story as the child was healthy, happy, and greatly loved by their new family. Needless to say we at Humboldt Bay Fire feel very privileged to have been apart of their story and know that we played a small part in the wonderful outcome.

The success of this story only goes to prove the value of this program. The California Safe Surrender program had a demonstrated history throughout out state in truly making a difference in the lives that it touches. Per the California Department of Social Services website most recent information, From January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2017, there were 931 newborns surrendered in California. This is compared with 164 infants abandoned since 2001. Available data indicates a generally decreasing trend of abandonments since enactment of the Law, from 25 cases in 2002 to five or fewer cases per year since 2010, representing a decrease of at least 80%.