Bakersfield Memorial Hospital used their Children’s Healing Garden to celebrate Safely Surrender Baby Awareness Month. Medical social worker Susan Hernandez says she’s counseled many new moms who were desperate to find a safe place for their babies, and the law gives them hope. “They’re saying, ‘I don’t know what to do, …will I get in trouble, will I get arrested.’ Some have even told me they’ve even thought of, you know, of killing their baby, maybe delivering at home. And so, I tell them that there is hope, there is an opportunity, there is an option to this.” The law passed in 2001 lets mothers of newborns bring them to a hospital or fire station, with “No shame, No blame, and No names. Seventy-one Safely Surrender babies have been placed in permanent homes in Kern County.

Suzanne Grant