EUREKA, Calif. (KIEM) — A newborn baby was safely surrendered to a Humboldt Bay Fire station Thursday morning, the first time in the station’s 155 year history.
All Humboldt Bay Fire stations are designated drop-off sites for safely surrendered babies. A newborn infant was handed over to HBF staff at Station 1. Firefighters performed an initial medical check, and the baby was in good health.
“They were transported to the hospital and eventually would end up in the care of Humboldt County Child Welfare services to be fostered and adopted out,” according to Community Risk Reduction Specialist Amy Conlin.
The safely surrendered baby program was created back in 2013 by a former battalion chief. In accordance with California law, it allows a parent or other legal guardian to voluntarily surrender physical custody of a child that’s 72 hours old or younger.
“Although we won’t turn someone away if the infant is older than that,” Conlin says.
This is all done discretely without the fear of judgement…or of being prosecuted for child abandonment. With the county in the red tier due to a rise in Covid-19 cases, HBF has brought back some restrictions when it comes to interacting with the public. Community risk reduction specialist Amy Conlin assures those will not have an impact on the safely surrendered baby program.
“Certainly we would still make that happen. If someone needed to surrender an infant, even though stations are quote end quote closed to the public we would still accept the child,” Conlin says.
Humboldt Bay Fire says their hearts, thoughts and well wishes continue to be with the infant and her parent.