BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          
           AB 1048
                                                                  Page  1

          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 1048 (Torrico)
          As Amended  July 15, 2010
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |67-9 |(June 3, 2009)  |SENATE: |27-6 |(August 19,    |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2010)          |
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           Original Committee Reference:    PUB. S.  

           SUMMARY  :  Requires a designating entity to consult with the  
          governing body of a city, if the safe-surrender site is within  
          city limits, and with representatives of the applicable fire  
          department and child welfare agency.

           The Senate amendments  : 

          1)Require a designating entity to consult with the governing  
            body of a city, if the safe-surrender site is within city  
            limits, and with representatives of the applicable fire  
            department and child welfare agency.

          2)Change the age from 30 days old or younger to 72 hours old or  
            younger to be surrendered to safe-surrender sites by a parent  
            or legal guardian.

           AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill:

          1)Defined a "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 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  








          
           AB 1048
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               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)Stated 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 site.

           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  
          action. 

          "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  
          psychotic depression.  Postpartum psychotic depression can occur  
          within 3 weeks of birth and often goes unnoticed as the women  








          
           AB 1048
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          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 counties.

          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, notwithstanding language barriers.








          
           AB 1048
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          "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  
          bill.
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Nicole J. Hanson / PUB. S. / (916)  
          319-3744 


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