2 are in custody after a baby girl was found abandoned behind dumpsters in Mississippi


Two people have been taken into custody in connection with the abandonment of a newborn baby girl who was found behind trash cans at a mobile home park in Mississippi, authorities said.

The two people were arrested Friday afternoon Marshall County Sheriff’s Office He said on Facebook. The authorities did not provide further details about their identity, but indicated that the newborn remained in good condition and recovering in the hospital.

The sheriff’s office said the child was discovered around 7:00 p.m. local time on Wednesday. She was bundled up in several blankets and in a car seat behind trash cans at the Grove of Cayce mobile home park in Marshall County, about 35 miles southeast of Memphis near the Tennessee border.

The child was taken to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis in good condition, authorities said.

“We would like to thank you for your help, support and prayers for this little girl,” the Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.

The incident sparked discussion of safe haven laws with some community members calling for more publicity about safe surrender operations and baby boxes. A spokesperson for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital declined to comment on the ongoing investigation but cited Tennessee’s safe haven law — which allows mothers to surrender newborns unharmed to designated facilities within two weeks of birth without fear of prosecution, according to the state Department of Children’s Services. . and WREG-TV.

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Every state has a sanctuary law

All 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, have enacted sanctuary law, according to the report. Child care information portal. Safe haven laws provide a way for a person to safely give up a newborn unharmed without the risk of prosecution.

But laws vary from state to state. In most states, either parent may surrender their child to a safe haven location, according to the Child Welfare Information Portal.

“Nearly seven states require parents to give up their infants only to a hospital, emergency medical provider, or health care facility,” the Child Welfare Information Portal states. “In 32 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico, fire stations are also designated as sanctuary providers. Staff at police stations or other law enforcement agencies may accept infants in 27 states plus Puerto Rico.”

While safe harbor laws generally allow parents to remain anonymous, meaning some states will not force them to reveal their identity, the process is not completely anonymous.

According to Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, it can be considered abandonment if a parent does not hand their child directly to an employee at a Safe Haven location. In 2018 and 2019, authorities investigated two cases Kentucky And Louisiana The children were left outside the fire station and hospital.

A parent may also be asked to voluntarily fill out paperwork regarding the child’s medical history or provide any other relevant information to the Safe Haven site. Once the child is deemed unharmed, the parent can leave.

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Some states have anonymous safe boxes for children

After learning that she had been abandoned as an infant, she founded Kelsey Safe haven boxes for children To educate others about sanctuary laws and help mothers who want to remain completely anonymous, according to the nonprofit.

“The Safe Haven Baby Box takes face-to-face interactions out of submission and keeps mom from showing up,” the organization says.

Currently, 15 states have baby box locations, according to the organization. In Arizona, Banner Hospital introduced pediatric drawers, a similar device.

Baby boxes are devices commonly installed in fire stations and hospitals that parents can use to drop off their babies. These boxes are accessible from outside the buildings and are equipped with silent alarms to alert employees after the box has been opened.

The boxes automatically lock once the baby is placed inside and the door is closed, according to Safe Haven Baby Boxes. The boxes also have cooling and heating features to keep baby safe until staff arrives, which is usually less than two minutes.

Contributing: Rasha Ali, USA TODAY; Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2 are in custody after a newborn baby was found behind dumpsters in Mississippi

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