Much attention has been drawn to the heartbreaking Hobbs incident in which an infant was abandoned in a trash can over the weekend. While many of us have expressed a collective sigh of relief to learn that the baby has been rescued from danger by caring and caring citizens, the situation has raised many questions about the legal options for a parent to reclaim. safely an infant or newborn. This is an appropriate time to highlight the provisions of the New Mexico Safe Havens Act, as opposed to the criminal implications and penalties associated with abandonment and child abuse laws.
Our intention is to raise awareness of options for anyone who has recently given birth and who feels a sense of hopelessness and inability to care for the child. It is important for a person in this situation to realize that there are safe options that protect the well-being of the baby and do not have legal implications for the parent.
If a child is safely returned, as directed by New Mexico’s shelter law, it is not considered a criminal offense and the parent will not be prosecuted for abandonment or abuse.
With this in mind, it is important to review the provisions of the Safe Haven Act to ensure that the public is aware of how such an assignment can be effected safely and legally. Under the Shelters Act:
A person may leave an infant with safe-site staff without criminal prosecution for abandonment or abuse if the infant is born within 90 days of being deposited in the safe-haven site, as determined to a reasonable degree with medical certainty, and whether the infant is left in a condition which would not constitute abandonment or abuse of a child in accordance with section 30-6-1 NMSA 1978.
The definition of a refuge site is a hospital, law enforcement agency, or fire station that has staff on site at the time an infant is left.
The entity that receives the infant may request basic information, but these details are not necessary to give up a child.
We need to recognize and recognize that for some parents, especially when giving birth to a child without medical resources or without the support of caring adults, the prospect of parenting is overwhelming. For these people, it is imperative that they know that there are safe and legal options. In fact, the parent of a child of any age who feels hopeless and scared or unable to safely care for one or more children should know that there are caregivers out there and resources available to help them. The Children, Youth and Families Department urges citizens in these situations to contact CYFD directly at #SAFE from a cell phone or at 855-333-SAFE. The New Mexico Crisis and Access Line is another resource available to all New Mexicans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and you don’t have to be in crisis to call a healthcare professional. behavioral health at 1- (855) -NMCRISIS (1-855-662-7474). ).
Any effort we can make to raise awareness about this has the potential to save a child’s life, and we will continue to work seriously to do so.