Baby Moses Law an option for parents who can't care for a newborn

Authorities continue to search for the mother of a newborn baby found next to a community mailbox in Northwest Austin on Tuesday. 

Austin police said it was around 7:30 a.m when someone walking by a community mailbox on Rotherham Drive found a newborn baby girl. Investigators said there are concerns about the mother's health and well-being. Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said the newborn is recovering. 

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"She's at a hospital, but she is legally in the state's custody. And once she's ready to be released, she will go to a foster home and then an adoptive home," said Marissa Gonzales, media relations director for Texas DFPS.  

While authorities continue to piece together the circumstances of the case, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services explained there are other opportunities for parents who cannot care for a newborn.

"While we're certainly grateful this baby's doing well, we know that it could easily have gone differently for her. So we hope that parents, or soon to be parents, who are struggling and who are worried about what they're going to do, will see this and will realize they have an option," Gonzales said. 

One of those options is called the Baby Moses or Safe Haven Law. The law allows parents to leave an unharmed baby, 60 days or younger, at a designated safe place no questions asked. Safe places include hospitals, fire stations, emergency centers, or EMS stations. 


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"So rather than abandoning a baby somewhere where they could get hurt, you can leave that child with emergency medical personnel where they're going to get the care they need, where they're going to be able to later be adopted by a family who's been wanting to adopt a baby and get the best shot at the best life," said Gonzales. 

DFPS said in fiscal year 2020, which ran from August 31, 2019 to September 1, 2020, there were 20 Baby Moses cases in Texas. Two of them were in the Austin region.

DFPS encourages parents to physically hand the baby to medical personnel at a safe haven location and said the entire process can be anonymous.

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"Parents can do this without any fear of criminal prosecution or any fear of a child abuse investigation. It's a really brave and loving choice to make," Gonzales said. 

To learn more about the law visit here.

For more Texas news, click here.