Baby Moses Law History
Prior to 1999, babies were sometimes abandoned by parents who may have felt they had no other option. News stories from that time period reflect the danger these children were placed in after being left in public restrooms, on sidewalks, or even in garbage containers. This drew the attention of medical professionals and government officials alike, who came together to try to solve this problem. Thanks to the work of the late Dr. John Richardson, a former board member of Alliance For Children, State Representative Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, and the support of Texas constituents, the Safe Haven or “Baby Moses” law was passed in 1999. Texas was the first to pass this legislation to protect infants and now all 50 states have safe haven laws, with their own guidelines as to age of infant and location of safe surrenders.
Baby Moses Mission
The Baby Moses law provides a safe outlet for parents who may be overwhelmed and see no alternative or means to care for their child. Under the guidelines of the law, the parent of an unharmed infant under 60 days old may relinquish the care of their child to a professional at a designated “Safe Baby Site” such as an EMS facility, hospital or fire station with no questions asked. The parents’ identity may remain confidential if the child is unharmed. Parents may also have a third party relinquish the child, as well as have the opportunity to provide a medical history for the infant. Upon a parent’s relinquishment of care, the infant is medically evaluated and the the Department of Family and Protective Services seeks a safe and loving environment for the infant going forward.
Baby Moses Effectiveness
The Baby Moses program gives parents an opportunity to ensure that their babies grow up in a safe environment and provides an alternative to leaving a baby in an unsafe situation. These babies are relinquished at EMS locations including fire stations, Emergency Medical Service locations, hospitals, and free-standing emergency rooms. The infant is given a medical evaluation and then the Department of Family and Protective Services is notified to take possession of the infant. Over the two decades of this program, parents have found solace and comfort knowing that their children will be well cared for, and these children have been given the chance for a happy and safe childhood.
Though the Baby Moses Law (aka Safe Haven Law) is proven to save lives, it is not well-known in some areas and infants are still being abandoned in unsafe circumstances. How can you help? Grassroots efforts across the state can help spread awareness of the law and your voice can contribute to those efforts. You can also donate financially to organizations including Alliance For Children, who support local fire stations and provide necessary supplies for the care of these infants.
Parents in distress should know that they can seek help from EMS personnel and that they are protected by the Baby Moses law. To learn how you can get involved in supporting children in Tarrant County, visit www.allianceforchildren.org/get-involved.
About the Author
Molly Horn is the PR/Marketing Coordinator for Alliance For Children and has a degree in Social Work. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter and two cats.