SAN ANTONIO – Local child advocates are seeking funding and legislative support to amend the existing Baby Moses Law to include allowing the use of Safe Haven Baby Boxes

“We want to remove all obstacles out of the way and the path clear so that the woman who decides that she’s going to surrender that baby will be able to do that,” said Pamela Allen, a longtime Baby Moses advocate.

She and Carrie Wilcoxson, a child and family advocate, said they believe many more mothers would come forward if they didn’t have to personally turn over their infant to a paramedic, nurse or doctor.

Wilcoxson said even without having to identify themselves, the desperate mothers are “probably very ashamed, probably very embarrassed” to face anyone.

The women said Safe Haven Baby Boxes, already available in Indiana and Ohio, would remove the intimidation factor that could stop people from legally giving up their baby without speaking to anyone.

Allen said they would allow mothers to simply place their infant in a secure, temperature-controlled box, push a button, close the door and walk away. The boxes, which Allen estimates cost $10,000 each, also have silent alarms that alert first responders. The boxes are put into an exterior wall at approved locations.

Instead of using public funds, Allen said, local advocates are seeking donors and corporations willing to fund at least five boxes in San Antonio. They would be the first in the state, she said, if they can get the amendment introduced in the next session of the Texas Legislature that convenes next month.

State Sen. Jose Menendez of San Antonio, who chairs the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Child Abuse, said, “We intend to do everything in our power to keep the children of Texas safe.”

“We’re working on several ideas, including this one," said Tomas Larralde, Menendez's chief of staff.

There isn’t a legislative draft yet, but Larralde said the senator’s staff is reaching out to Allen to learn more about what she has in mind.  

Babies turned over FY 2009-2019

Fiscal Year

2009

15

Children

2010

6

Children

2011

12

Children

2012

10

Children

2013

15

Children

2014

9

Children

2015

11

Children

2016

19

Children

2017

13

Children

2018

9

Children

2019*

6

Children

125

Children

*partial Year