LUBBOCK, Texas — Safe Haven and Baby Moses laws were enacted in 1999, allowing mothers to surrender their newborn babies safely and legally with no questions asked. Today, all Lubbock Fire Rescue, EMS and hospitals are designated safe spaces where those wanting to surrender their children can do so as long as the baby is 60 days or younger.
Derek Delgado with LFR said the process is simple and requires nothing but medical information about the baby.
“Questions related to any family or medical conditions for the child and that’s really for the well-being of that child to make sure that once we start the medical screening process if there’s anything that we need to know prior,” Delgado said.
Delgado said once the baby is evaluated, the child will be placed in the care of the state.
“EMS will be contacted to do a medical evaluation and then that child will be transported to a local hospital and then the Texas Department of Family and Protection Services will be contacted as well to take custody of the child,” Delgado said.
19-year-old Alexis Avila knows the consequences of abandoning her newborn in an unsafe place. A jury found Avila guilty on charges of child abuse and attempted murder last week after abandoning her baby boy in a dumpster in January 2022.
Delgado said he hopes parents who feel helpless in a situation like Avila’s turn to the designated Safe places.
“There are resources available to you, but what we’re seeing nationwide is that children are being abandoned, you know, in dumpsters or just abandoned just in the wide-open public, and this is a safe and legal option for parents to surrender their child,” Delgado said.
According to LFR records, Delgado said only five babies have been surrendered to the department since the law was enacted in 1999.
A Representative with University Medical Center said only one baby was surrendered at their hospital in the year 2022, and so far, none this year.