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Mother surrenders newborn son at ER in Glendale

A mother who said she could not care for her newborn son surrendered him at the emergency room at a Glendale hospital Friday evening. The boy was the third child given up this year in Los Angeles County under the state's "safe surrender" program.

The baby is expected to be placed in a foster home of a family chosen from a list of people approved by the Department of Children and Family Services' adoption division, according to Cathy Walsh, the safe surrender specialist for the Los Angeles County Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect.

The mother filled out a medical questionnaire about the baby at the hospital so that there will be background health information on the child.

Anyone with legal custody of a baby can hand the child over to a person (the baby can't be simply dropped off), at a hospital or fire station in Los Angeles County within 72 hours of birth -- without ramifications. The parent remains anonymous.

"No name, no shame, no blame," said Deanne Tilton Durfee, executive director of the Inter-Agency Council. To further protect the parent's identity, the hospital is not named either. The parent also has 14 days to decide to reclaim the child, according to Walsh.

Two other babies have been surrendered this year. One was given up at a fire station in Los Angeles and another at a hospital in Montebello, Walsh said.

Last year, there were seven babies given up. Since 2002, 79 babies have been surrendered through the program, with a high of 15 in 2007. No infants were surrendered in 2001, the year the law allowing parents to anonymously give up their newborns went into effect.

"The word needs to be out there that there is a recourse, there is a resource," Durfee said, adding that the mothers have often not received prenatal care or have been hiding their pregnancies. "They need to know there's a better alternative than hiding the baby or placing the baby in a dumpster or something worse."

-- Carla Hall

 
Comments () | Archives (8)

KUDOS TO THE BIRTH MOM. FINALLY SOMEONE DOES IT RIGHT - EVEN TOOK THE TIME TO FILL OUT THE BABY'S HEALTH INFORMATION. SHE TOOK THE HIGHER ROAD AND DID THE RIGHT THING AND NOW THE BABY CAN BE RAISED IN A FAMILY ENVIORNMENT AND FULFILL SOME POTENTIAL PARENTS' DREAMS.

I believe it is inappropriate to identify the hospital where this occurred. If the idea behind the law is to protect the privacy of those who feel compelled to give up their children, I believe it does not help to identify even the location where it occurred.

How very sad for that baby.
I had loving parents that I appreciate more and more as I grow older.
Now a kid is lucky if an unstable parent doesn't kill them before they grow up.
Thanks popular culture and mass media for promoting the selfish tramp lifestyle.
Now this country is both morally and financially bankrupt.

Carlos, would it have been better if the mother who couldn't care for the child took it home instead? That's a recipe for child abuse and neglect. At least this way it has a chance to find a home where it will be wanted.

Kurt, the hospital is not identified in this story, unless there's only one ER in Glendale. See: "To further protect the parent's identity, the hospital is not named either."

Kurt, they didn't identify the hospital. There are at least seven hospitals in Glendale.

Carlos, how do you know the birth mother is a "tramp?" Pretty judgmental, wouldn't you say? I agree with LK--this mother did the right thing. The baby will find a happy home and be no worse for the birth mother's no doubt agonizing decision.

Placing this poor child in the "system" may do more harm than good given how broken our foster system is. But even the broken system is better than the mom dumping the baby in a dumpster or keeping it and neglecting or abusing it. I pray for this kid and hope that they won't be a victim of bouncing from foster home to foster home and that they will have a chance to grow up in a loving stable family.

I'm glad we have this kind of program, but LA_Native is right. Our foster system could be much worse for this child. I pray the child get's through the system safely and with much love and support possible.


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