MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - It happens around the country, parents leaving unwanted infants in dumpsters or public restrooms with no care. That's why one law is giving parents a safe and legal option without facing criminal charges.
"Since the program's inception, there have been about 2,000 babies brought in nationwide," said Captain Kris Norred with Odessa Fire and Rescue.
Texas was the first state to enact the law in 1999. It's called the Safe Haven Law, making hospitals, fire stations and child welfare agencies a designated place where a parent can drop a baby off without having to give identification. The babies are protected with medical care until a permanent home is found.
The Midland Fire Department and Odessa Fire-Rescue are examples of designated Safe Haven sites. Fortunately, both departments haven't seen any babies left on their doorstep in recent years.
"We will take the baby, we'll take custody of the child. We will then transport the baby to the emergency room, contact all of the appropriate law enforcement as well as Child Protective Services, let everyone be aware of the child," said Norred.
In order for parents to drop off the baby, the building must be a designated safe haven spot, the baby must be less than 60 days old and must be handed over physically to someone available.
A law, to not only lower the number of child neglect cases, but give a child another chance at life.
"This allows a safer alternative to allow the babies be placed out on the street or an unwanted, unwatched type facility. Definitely a safer place, a safe haven."