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Safe haven laws allow parents to drop infant at safe place with no questions asked

According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, safe haven laws are enacted as an incentive for mothers in crisis to safely relinquish their babies to designated locations. (File Photo)

After a Borger woman was arrested for a capital murder charge on Nov. 1 following an investigation into the death of her newborn child, many are questioning why the mother did not take the infant to an adoption agency or other provider, saying the mother had other options. One of those choices is provided under infant safe haven laws.

According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, safe haven laws are enacted as an incentive for mothers in crisis to safely relinquish their babies to designated locations.

Captain David Kouba with the Amarillo Fire Department said the law allows for parents to drop their infant off, as long as they are 60-days-old or younger, while remaining anonymous.

In Texas, all identifying information, documentation or other records regarding a person who voluntarily delivers a child to a designated emergency infant care provider is confidential. Kouba said everything will remain confidential.

“If this is your choice to protect your infant and you’re looking for that last out, bring them to the fire station," Kouba said. "It’s a confidential program. We are not going to get anything from you. We just want to be able to take care of the infant and get [them] into the proper care [the infant] needs.”

Child Welfare Information Gateway said in Texas, designated emergency infant care providers include

  • An emergency medical services provider
  • A hospital
  • A licensed freestanding emergency medical care facility
  • A licensed child-placing agency that agrees to act as a designated emergency infant care provider or has a person on staff who is licensed as a registered nurse or who provides emergency services

Sheriff Brian Thomas with the Potter County Sheriff's Office said police stations are not considered infant care providers under the Texas law.

Thomas tells ABC 7 News that the child cannot just be dropped off, but needs to be physically given to a designated emergency infant care provider. He said the reason for that is safety precautions for the infant.

Thomas said he cannot recall the last time something of this sorts has happened in Amarillo, but said if a mother is not wanting to keep her newborn, she has options.

“But what I would say to that lady that’s having that baby or fixing to have a baby and doesn’t want that baby, please just take that baby to one of these places," Thomas said. "Let's give that child a fighting chance. If you don’t want to take care of that child and you don’t think you can handle it, all you have to do is drop it off at a firehouse, drop it off at an emergency room, [or] a hospital.”


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