HOUSTON, Texas – A Texas judge has given Child Protective Services (CPS) emergency custody of two boys left at a Houston fire station on Monday night. The state’s “Baby Moses” law does not apply because of the children’s ages. Neither parent attended the court hearing to decide the children’s temporary fate.
Authorities say that the mother of the three-year-old and fourteen-month old boys told fire station personnel that she was overwhelmed and could not take care of her children any longer. She left a stroller and some diapers at the fire station.
The Baby Moses law (also called the “Safe Haven” law) does not apply because a child must be 60 days old or younger in order to qualify for the law’s protections.
According to ABC13 News in Houston, the mother, 22-year-old Jasmin Jones, said she had an argument with the father of the boys, 31-year-old John Lee Smith, and he said he did not want the children any more.
Harris County Juvenile Judge Michael Schneider placed the boys into temporary CPS custody after conducting a hearing.
CPS workers testified that there are two open cases with the agency. The children had been recently placed in the father’s custody after the mother tested positive for benzodiazepine, marijuana, and cocaine, as reported by ABC13 News. Jones also has two prior convictions for aggravated assault and assault.
The Special Victims Unit of the Houston Police Department is looking into whether or not any laws have been violated. According to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, no charges have been filed.
In order to comply with the Baby Moses law, a parent may bring an infant under the age of 60 days to any hospital, fire station, or emergency medical (EMS) station in Texas. A parent must tell one of the employees there that they want to leave their baby at a Safe Haven.
One of the reasons the law requires that a parent speak with an employee at a designated Safe Haven, is so the parent can give the baby’s family and medical history and the baby can be properly provided for.
The Baby Moses law was enacted by Texas Legislators, at least in part, in response to children being left in garbage dumpsters and other forms of dangerous abandonment. It provides an alternative to mothers who might otherwise harm, murder, or abandon a newborn child.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (also referred to as “CPS”) has information on the agency’s website that detail the procedures for complying with the Baby Moses law. The flyers are written in both English and Spanish.
Texas also has a Baby Moses hotline, 1-877-904-SAVE (1-877-904-7283).
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and an associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2