SSVFD adopts ‘Baby Moses’ policy
By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor
Aug 15, 2007 - Sulphur Springs Fire Department as of this month is officially a designated “child-placing agency” or emergency infant care provider as evidenced by the yellow “child secure site” signs posted outside the station.
What does that mean? Not that they are licensed day care providers nor do they find foster homes for children as the designation would suggest, but that they have met the terms required in House Bill 706, which became effective Sept. 1, 2001.
In general legislation, often called the “Baby Moses Law,” allows parents can leave their unwanted baby at a designated emergency infant care provider or child-placing agency (CPA) uch as SSFD, provided the child is 60 days old or younger. The purpose for the law “is to encourage parents who abandon their children to do so with a CPA rather than at a dangerous location. The law also protects parents from criminal prosecution when they deliver an unharmed child to a CPA,” according to Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Parents should note, however, that by delivering the child to the CPA, they are expressing their intent not to return for the child.
When leaving a child, the parents should make sure that staff at the CPA are present at the time. Parents will not be identified by name, but will have the option of filling out a form with information regarding family medical history, which will go into the child’s file for future reference for health purposes. The form is voluntary, and not required however.
Both of SSFD’s stations are registered through Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as a CPA. In order to earn the designation, the agency “agrees to act as a designated emergency infant care provider” and has “on staff a person who is licensed as a registered nurse under Chapter 301, Occupations Code, or who provides emergency medical services under Chapter 773, Health and Safety Code, and who will examine and provide emergency medical services to a child taken into possession by the agency.”
Because all of SSFD’s firefighters are required to have attained EMT certification, they meet the medical standards. If a baby age 2-months or younger is left at their station, they will offer the voluntary card. They will contact Emergency Medical Services personnel and Child Protective Services personnel to notify them about the child, and take care of the baby until EMS personnel arrive to transport the child to the hospital for care and to be checked out. The child will then be released into the hospital’s care, then to CPS to begin the process of finding the child a foster or permanent home.
For more information about the Baby Moses Law or CPA’s go to the Department of Family and Protective service web site: www.dfps.stat.tx.us