BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 1048
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          AB 1048 (Torrico)
          As Amended  June 1, 2009
          Majority vote 

           PUBLIC SAFETY       5-0         APPROPRIATIONS      8-2          
          |Ayes:|Solorio, Furutani, Hill,  |Ayes:|Feuer, Brownley, Evans,   |
          |     |Ma, Skinner               |     |Jones, Krekorian, Lieu,   |
          |     |                          |     |Monning, Nielsen          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |     |                          |Nays:|Tran, Knight              |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           APPROPRIATIONS      14-3                                         
          |Ayes:|De Leon, Nielsen, Ammiano,       |  |                      |
          |     |Charles Calderon, Davis,         |  |                      |
          |     |Fuentes, Hall, John A. Perez,    |  |                      |
          |     |Price, Skinner, Solorio, Audra   |  |                      |
          |     |Strickland, Torlakson, Krekorian |  |                      |
          |     |                                 |  |                      |
          |Nays:|Duvall, Harkey, Miller           |  |                      |
          |     |                                 |  |                      |

           SUMMARY  :  Expands the "Safe-Surrender Law" to allow a parent or  
          other person with the lawful custody of a child 30 days old or  
          younger to be surrendered to safe-surrender sites, as specified.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Defines "safe-surrender" site as:

             a)   A location designated by the board of supervisors of a  
               county or by a local fire agency, upon the approval of the  
               appropriate local governing body of the agency, to be  
               responsible for accepting physical custody of a minor child  
               who is 30 days old or younger from a parent or individual who  
               has lawful custody of the child and who surrenders the child  
               pursuant to existing law.  Before designating a location as a  
               safe-surrender, the designatory entity shall consult with the  


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               governing body of a city if the site is within the city  
               limits, and with representatives of a fire department and a  
               child welfare agency that may provide services to a child who  
               is surrendered at the site if that location is selected; and,  

             b)   A location within a public or private hospital designated  
               by that hospital to be responsible for accepting physical  
               custody of a minor child who is 30 days old or younger from a  
               parent or individual who has lawful custody of the child and  
               who surrenders the child pursuant to existing law.

          2)States that no parent or other individual having lawful custody  
            of a minor 30 days old or younger may be prosecuted under  
            existing law if he or she voluntarily surrenders physical  
            custody of the child to personnel on duty at a safe-surrender  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, minor, potentially state-reimbursed costs for local  
          entities and governments to consult on the designation of  
          safe-surrender sites. 

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, "Recently, 22 states have time  
          provisions that give a parent a month or longer to safely  
          surrender their baby.  North Dakota and Missouri have safe  
          surrender laws that give parents up to a year.  

          "A survey of these states elicited two primary rationales for the  
          extended period.  The first was a general desire to provide  
          sufficient time for a parent to take a responsible course of  

          "The second was the correlation between the onset of postpartum  
          depression and infanticide or abuse.  In our neighboring state,  
          Nevada, Assemblywoman Barbara Cegavske responded that they were  
          trying to leave enough time and space in between when a mother  
          abandoned her baby and went through any postpartum depression  
          episodes that might be experienced.

          "According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental  
          Disorders, Fourth Edition, postpartum depression is defined as  
          episodes of depression beginning within 4 weeks of giving birth.   
          Cases in which postpartum depression poses the greatest danger to  
          the child is when the mother is suffering from postpartum  


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          psychotic depression.  Postpartum psychotic depression can occur  
          within 3 weeks of birth and often goes unnoticed as the women that  
          suffer from postpartum depression may appear well. 

          "In California specifically, there are three major obstacles for  
          mothers seeking to surrender their baby: 

          1)"Health:  Even without the onset of postpartum depression, the  
            strenuous act of giving birth itself takes a toll on a woman's  
            mind and body, impairing judgment and depleting physical  
            strength.  Additionally, many women who end up abandoning their  
            children are often in denial of their pregnancy and those around  
            her are even unaware of her pregnancy.  Without prenatal care or  
            medical assistance during birth, several complications may arise  
            that inflict serious trauma, including maternal hemorrhaging.  
            These types of complications could take days or weeks to  
            recover, which could cause her to miss the opportunity to safely  
            surrender her baby.

          2)"Geographic:  California is geographically diverse.  A  
            significant number of California's counties are composed of  
            rural and remote areas with limited transportation options,  
            making quick travel difficult.  This problem is exacerbated when  
            fire stations cannot be designated as safe surrender sites  
            because they are not staffed 24 hours.  In Alpine and Sierra  
            counties, the situation is even worse.  Those counties do not  
            have ANY safe surrender sites because they do not have any  
            hospitals or any viable designated surrender sites in their  

          3)"Outreach:  The existing law does not require any governmental  
            entity to administer and enforce the law, much less establish an  
            awareness campaign.  There are varying levels of understanding  
            from county to county and even county to state.  This lack of  
            clear comprehension of the law inevitably poses major problems  
            for those seeking to obtain the information and those that are  
            providing the information.

          "While collecting information on safe surrender sites in the 58  
          counties, my staff quickly found that there was no comprehensive  
          list of safe surrender sites at the state level.  At the county  
          level, only about 10 counties had a partial or complete list on  
          hand and a majority of the others were unclear about the law.  The  
          challenges faced in gathering this information at the governmental  
          level, only calls into question the law's effectiveness,  


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          notwithstanding language barriers.

          "In California, there are over 6 million limited English  
          proficient residents and currently, informational pamphlets have  
          only been available in English and Spanish.  Without access to  
          information for the nearest safe surrender sites and confusion  
          among county experts, it appears unreasonable to expect a  
          desperate mother to safely surrender within the 72 hour window.

          "Most of the babies this law seeks to save are born to mothers  
          with extenuating circumstances and to whom normal and reasonable  
          standards do not apply."
           Please see the policy committee for a full discussion of this  

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Nicole J. Hanson / PUB. S. / (916)  

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