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Please note the Imperial County Public Health Department will be open for appointments only. Department staff will be available to provide assistance by phone to members of the community who have questions related to any of the Department’s essential services.

Phone assistance will be available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The office will be closed for lunch from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. This shall remain in effect until further notice.

Safe Surrender Baby Program

Safe Surrender Baby Program logo

There IS AN OPTION. DON'T ABANDON YOUR BABY.

Pursuant to California Health and Safety Code section 1255.7 and California Penal Code section 271.5, a parent or person in lawful custody of a newborn infant seventy-two (72) hours old or younger is granted immunity from criminal prosecution for abandonment if they surrender the baby at a hospital or other designated safe surrender site.

Imperial County Designated Safe Surrender Sites Include:

  1. El Centro Regional Medical Center
    1415 Ross. Ave., El Centro, CA
    Phone:(760) 339-7100
  2. Pioneers Memorial Hospital
    207 W. Legion Rd., Brawley, CA
    Phone: (760) 351-3333
  3. Imperial County Fire Department
    1. Station 1&4 2541 La Bruchierie Rd., Imperial, CA
      Phone: (760) 355-1191

    2. Station 2 1078 Dogwood Rd., Heber CA
      Phone: (760) 482-2420

    3. Station 3 1828 Park St., Seeley, CA
      Phone: (760) 352-2421

    4. Station 5 112 California State Highway 78 Palo Verde

    5. Station 6 1157 Imperial Ave., Ocotillo, CA
      Phone: (760) 358-7802

    6. Station 7 8071 Luxor Avenue Calipatria, CA 

Additional Medical and Support Resources:

  • Emergency 9-1-1

  • Imperial County Children and Families Services
    24-hour Hotline
    Phone: (760) 337-7750

  • PROJECT CUDDLE
    1-888-628-3353

  • Dial 1.877.BABY.SAFE. (1-877-222-9723)

  • Or go to: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/safe-surrender

Imperial County Designated Safe Surrender Sites Include:

  1. El Centro Regional Medical Center
    1415 Ross. Ave., El Centro, CA
    Phone:(760) 339-7100

  2. Pioneers Memorial Hospital
    207 W. Legion Rd., Brawley, CA
    Phone: (760) 351-3333

  3. Imperial County Fire Department

    1. Station 1 2541 La Bruchierie Rd., Imperial, CA
      Phone: (760) 355-1191

    2. Station 2 1078 Dogwood Rd., Heber CA
      Phone: (760) 482-2420

    3. Station 3 1828 Park St., Seeley, CA
      Phone: (760) 352-2421

    4. Station 5 112 California State Highway 78Palo Verde, CA 

    5. Station 6 1157 Imperial Ave., Ocotillo, CA
      Phone: (760) 358-7802

    6. Station 7 8071 Luxor Avenue Calipatria, CA 

  1. Who can safely surrender a baby?

  2. How does someone safely surrender a baby?

  3. Is this process confidential?

  4. What if a parent/guardian changes his/her mind?

  5. What happens to safely surrendered infants?

Surrendering an infant:

  • A parent or person with legal custody who is unable or unwilling to care for the infant can legally, confidentially, and safely surrender their baby that is 72 hours old or younger (three days old). All that is required is that the baby be brought to a designated fire station or hospital.

  • A bracelet will be placed on the baby for identification. A matching bracelet will be given to the parent/legal custodian.

  • The bracelets (baby and parent/legal custodian) are needed in order for the reclaiming of the infant.

  • A parent/legal custodian does not need to call a designated surrender site before delivering the infant.

  • The infant needs to be physically delivered to emergency personnel (fire department or hospital) at a designated site.

  • A parent or person with legal custody can deliver the infant anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to a designated site.

  • The parent/legal custodian is not required to provide any information when surrendering an infant at a designated site.

  • Emergency personnel are required to give the parent/legal custodian a medical questionnaire that is designed to gather family medical history, but it is the parent’s/legal custodian’s choice to complete it.

  • Once the infant has been surrendered, the infant will be examined and given medical treatment at an appropriate facility, if needed.

  • Once the parent/legal custodian has safely surrendered the infant, they are free to go.

After an infant has been surrendered:

  • Under the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, a parent/legal custodian has up to14 days to reclaim the baby.

  • The parent/legal custodian may take the bracelet back to the safe surrender site to initiate the reclaiming process of the baby.

​Additional Resources:

The Safely Surrendered Baby Law responds to the increasing number of newborn infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe locations. First created in January 2001, the Safely Surrendered Baby Law was signed permanently into state law in January 2006. The law's intent is to save lives of newborn infants at risk of abandonment by encouraging parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked.

From January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2015, 770 newborns have been surrendered in California, and 84 newborns were surrendered during the 2015 calendar year. This is compared with 169 infants abandoned since 2001, five of which occurred in the 2015 calendar year. The Department is currently working to improve data gathering and statistics for abandoned infants in order monitor the effectiveness of the Safely Surrendered Baby Law in preventing infant abandonment

Additional Resources: