MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Sometimes described as the “baby Moses law”, a Texas law has helped nearly 70 newborn babies connect with safe havens in South Texas over the past five years, officials told ValleyCentral.
Texas passed house bill 3423, or the “Safe Haven” Law, in 1999 due to a growing concern about the number of abandoned infants.
This law protects surrendered children whose parents may fear repercussions from giving up their child. The main purpose of the law is to encourage parents who wish to surrender their children to do so safely and not in a dangerous location. This only applies to infants who are 60 days or younger, and under the law, the newborns are received at fire stations and hospitals.
During drop off, you may be asked a few basic questions like family medical history.
“The baby needs to be in good health condition,” McAllen Fire Department Deputy Chief Juan Gloria said. “And even though it is a confidential process, it is not just about dropping off the baby at the door and walking away. We prefer that you make contact with our firefighters. And we’re gonna have some very basic questions in regards to, you know, the health of the baby.”
According to child protective services, 69 babies have been delivered to “safe havens” in the last 5 years in South Texas, officials said.
As long as the baby is unharmed, parents will not face charges of child abandonment or neglect, officials said.
“Child Protective Services will be looking for what options we would have for that baby, you know, moving forward, whether if it is a foster home,” Gloria said. “There are other avenues that the Child Protective Services can look into every case can have its own peculiarities and every case can be a little bit different.”