Clovis Fire Department shares resources for safely surrendering a child

Clovis Fire Station No. 1 in Old Town is one of the many safe surrender sites in the area. (Ron Sundquist/Clovis Roundup)

The recent manslaughter of newborn child promoted Clovis Fire Department to share resources that are available in order to safely surrender a child.

In a social media post, the Department stated that all Clovis Fire stations are staffed with professionals that can accept a surrendered infant.

“The Clovis Fire Department has specialized training and equipment to help anyone that feels they cannot properly care for their newborn baby,” stated the department.

On Wednesday morning, Clovis Police arrested 18-year-old Angelena Hamilton on charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse after disposing the deceased body of her newborn child in the trash bin of her Clovis residence.

In a news conference on Thursday, Clovis Police Chief Matt Basgall also reminded all those in similar situations that there are many resources available: “Anybody that has any issues out there needs to understand that there is options out there … There’s resources everywhere, you can come to the police station, we’ll help you. We don’t want to see this happen, nobody wants to see this happen.”

In addition, the fire department shared a link to frequently asked questions on California’s Safely Surrendered Baby Law, which allows a parent or person with lawful custody to surrender a baby confidently, without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment. The site includes a statewide, toll-free hotline of 1-877-BABYSAF (1-877-222-9723), which gives callers information on safe surrender sites in the area.

This law also allows for a 14-day cooling off period, which begins the day the child is voluntarily surrendered. During this period, the person who surrendered the child can return to the hospital to reclaim the child.

“The new law helps prevent exposing the child to the risks of abandonment and helps protect the parent from prosecution for criminal child abandonment,” states the Fresno County Department of Social Services website. “Under this new law, no one ever has to abandon a child again.”