Local News

Thursday, Jun 27 2013 10:53 AM

'First Look': Coalition emphasizes options with Safely Surrendered Baby Law

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    Social worker Jana Slagle and Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall, both members of the Safely Surrender Baby Coalition, talk about the law that allows newborns up to three days old to be safely surrendered. They appeared on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    In this file photo, members of the Oildale community hold a candlelight vigil for the baby that was found in a trash can in Oildale last summer on Beardsley Avenue.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    About 100 turned out for a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening in Oildale at Beardsley and South Oildale Drive for the infant that was found dead last week. The speaker at this event Ray Ballard said they were calling the infant Baby Beardsley.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    In this June photo, Kern County sheriff's personnel investigate the scene on Beardsley Avenue where the body of a newborn baby was found inside a trash bin. Reggie Groves, who found the child in the bin, was visibly distraught as he spoke about seeing the baby. He said it is the worst thing he has ever seen.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

There's a knock on the firehouse door. It's not expected. A newborn baby is delivered into the arms of a firefighter.

It's not something that happens every day. But when it does, that day was a success, Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall said.

He was talking about the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, which allows a person to safely deliver a baby up to 72 hours after its birth to any hospital emergency room staff or fire station without repercussions.

"Our coalition exists to make sure everyone knows there is an option," social worker and Safely Surrender Baby Coalition chairwoman Jana Slagle said Thursday on ""First Look with Scott Cox."

The importance of that option -- for whatever reason someone chooses to use it -- is at the top of many people's minds after a newborn was found dead in a trash can on Beardsley Avenue in Oildale just last week. A vigil was held for the dhild Wednesday night.

"Now law enforcement is involved and it does not have to be that way," Slagle said of that baby's death.

Marshall, who is also a member of the coalition, said firefighters ask the person surrendering a newborn for medical information for the benefit of the baby. But the person isn't required to give it. The person is given a bracelet so they have the opportunity to reclaim the child. An ambulance is called to get the child to medical help.

They "make sure that baby has a chance at life," Marshall said.

Since 2006, the county has seen 33 babies safely surrendered. In some instances, people have reclaimed the infant. In others, they have been adopted.

"In Kern County there are so many people who want to adopt babies," Slagle said.

Simulcast host Scott Cox said that if he worked at a fire station and a baby was brought in, he would call that a happy day.

"There is no reason to put a baby in a trash can when there are people who would love to have a baby," Slagle said.

Anyone who needs help finding the closest Safe Surrender location -- any hospital emergency room or fire station -- can call 211. Watch a Kern County Department of Human Services video about Safe Surrender.

 

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