The Child Abuse, Endangerment and Neglect Unit of the Family Violence Division handles all criminal cases involving physical abuse, endangerment and neglect of children. This includes physical abuse and neglect that occurs in homes, schools, and hospitals. All cases are vertically prosecuted which means that they are handled from start to finish by the same attorney who specializes in child abuse, endangerment and neglect of children prosecutions.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office with the cooperation of Law Enforcement and numerous government agencies has implemented protocols that commits the signatory agencies to:
- conduct prompt and thorough investigations of child abuse, endangerment and neglect cases;
- reduce trauma to victimized, children;
- cooperate effectively to investigate, prosecute and prevent child abuse, endangerment and neglect within Santa Clara County;
- train employees on recognition and investigation of child abuse, endangerment and neglect.
California State law provides for confidential births. The law also permits the mother or father to surrender, at any authorized medical facility, a newborn infant within three days of birth. Hospital staff may be expected to ask questions about the infant's health, but the parent may lawfully refuse to answer those questions. The parent may reclaim the infant within 14 days.
The voluntary surrender of an infant does not, by itself, require the hospital staff to report child abuse or neglect, even if the infant is born with a controlled substance in its blood or urine. Persons accepting such infants in good faith that state law has been followed will not be subject to civil, criminal or administrative penalties.
Women who try to deliver their own babies without medical attention risk their lives and the lives of their babies. Despite the protections of state law, tragic cases continue to occur throughout the state when fearful pregnant women avoid medical help with their pregnancies. All pregnant women should see a doctor. Any woman in labor should immediately go to the nearest hospital. No one there will notify her parents, the father of the child, or anyone else without her consent.
The applicable law can be found in the Penal Code section 271.5 and the Health and Safety Code section 1255.7.
For More Information Please Contact:
Family Violence Division - Child Abuse, Endangerment and Neglect Unit
70 W. Hedding St., West Wing
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 792-2537