“Give Every Baby A Chance”. This is the message that the TriValley Area Council of Hospital Volunteers (TVAC) is spreading throughout the Antelope, Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys. More than 1,000 volunteers are joining together to bring attention to the Safely Surrendered Baby Law. The 12 member hospitals of TVAC and the Los Angeles County Fire Department have also given their support to this Safe Surrender community awareness campaign.
“Too often we see and hear about the tragic stories of babies left in dumpsters, alleys, public restrooms and other places,” said Kay Radford, President of TVAC and a Providence Holy Cross volunteer. “The parents who abandoned these babies may have been unaware of the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, which allows them to surrender their baby legally, confidentially and safely at any Los Angeles County hospital emergency room or fire station. Because they were afraid and had nowhere to turn for help, they abandoned their infants. These children could experience pain or even death” said Kay.
The TriValley Area Council of Volunteers and their 12 hospitals have made it their mission to teach and engage the community in the Safely Surrendered Baby Law. They hope to protect more babies from being abandoned by their parents and potentially from being hurt or killed.
This idea of a community awareness campaign began in June at a general meeting held by the TriValley Area Council of Hospital Volunteers at Northridge Hospital. The volunteers were discussing the general topic of the safety of children. After that meeting, the decision was made to pursue the possibility of a community education and outreach program. With approval from both Los Angeles County and the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (CAHHS), the community awareness campaign was developed.
“What scares me is that we hear about all the babies who were found abandoned and hurt, but what about all the others who were never found,” Radford said. The Safely Surrendered Baby Law is here to protect children so that these tragedies do not have to happen.
The TriValley Area Council of Hospital Volunteers is asking for the support of the community as they spread their message and create awareness. They hope to reach all people from all backgrounds and all neighborhoods to prevent these kinds of tragedies. As of July 2006, 153 babies were safely surrendered and with more awareness, more can be saved. “Give Every Baby A Chance” posters will be distributed throughout the three valleys to churches, schools and places of business by dedicated and caring hospital volunteers.