A recent incident that occurred at a Rocklin, California, firehouse brings up an important issue regarding child custody laws. Currently, under California law, "anyone with lawful custody can surrender a baby confidentially and without fear of prosecution." Obviously, the Safely Surrendered Baby Law has the goal of preventing unwanted babies from being killed or abandoned by its parents. The SSBL tells an anxious new parent that there is another path available to them. However, what happens when a parent does not actually hand the child over to a person?
According to the Rocklin Fire Department, one of their Battalion Chiefs recently discovered a baby left outside of their facility. The firefighter had woken during the night to get some cereal when he heard noises that he believed belonged to cats fighting outside. He later realized that the sound was that of a baby crying. When he say a small arm protruding from a box, it confirmed his suspicion that someone had left a baby outside of the firehouse.
The firefighter gathered another coworker, and the pair then retrieved the infant. The child is described as being very healthy. Because the infant was not left with a person, the baby is considered to have been abandoned.
In life, sometimes we make important decisions and then live to regret them later. People who have gone through a divorce and agreed to certain child custody terms can also experience changes of heart, sometimes much later after the fact. Gladly, there are legal avenues available to parents who wish to petition the court for greater access to their children. A family law attorney can assist those who wish to modify their current custody or visitation plans.
Source: ABC 30 News, "California firefighter finds abandoned newborn outside fire station" No author given, Jun. 01, 2014