- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - In a story March 4 about the state Safe Surrender law, The Associated Press, relying on information from the state Department of Health and Social Services, reported erroneously on the budget for an ad campaign to raise awareness of the law. The budget was $20,000, not $50,000, and a television ad was produced at no additional cost to the state, not for $15,000.

A corrected version of the story is below:

State campaign for safe surrender awareness

State launches advertising campaign on safe surrender law to avoid future tragedies

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The death of a newborn has sparked an advertising campaign by the state to make the public aware of a new law allowing mothers to safely relinquish their babies without fear of prosecution.

The state of Alaska is launching a $20,000 campaign in raising awareness on the Safe Surrender for Infants Act passed in 2008, the Anchorage Daily News (https://bit.ly/1lwCMxO) reported Tuesday.

The effort comes four months after a 26-year-old married Army specialist and mother of a toddler was charged with allegedly leaving her infant to die in an Eagle River Park.

The law allows a parent to give up a baby at a police station, fire station or hospital up to 21 days after birth with no questions asked.

Officials said the law has never been used.

According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, infant abandonment is rare.

The woman charged had no idea a safe surrender law existed, said her attorney.

“She had been (in Alaska) a month,” attorney Rex Butler said. “She had no idea. If she had known about it, she would have taken advantage of it.”

In an effort to increase public awareness of the law, the Office of Children’s Services filmed a public service announcement video in January at no additional cost to the state.

“After the tragedy that happened last fall, it came to our attention that it had been a while since we’d put the word out about safe surrender,” said Christy Lawton, head of the state Office of Children’s Services.

The budget was used to put the commercial in heavy rotation on Alaska television stations, Lawton said.

The department is also posting flyers with information on the law around the state and placing Google and Facebook ads.

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