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Safe Babies Law Making A Difference

JACKSON, Miss. –The North Mississippi mother, accused of leaving her baby in a storage unit near her Houston home last week, is expected to be charged with abandonment and abuse of a newborn once she’s released from the hospital.

The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) is now reminding Mississippians there is a state law that allows new parents to safely give up their babies.  “It state’s that a parent, within 72 hours of giving birth, can give up their baby (with) no questions asked, no fear of prosecution,” explained Angie Williams MDHS director of permanency and placement.  But she said the babies must be taken to places designated as safe havens.  “Hospitals with emergency rooms, licensed adoption agencies and fire departments.”

The law went into effect more than a decade ago and MDHS Adoption Director Margie Shelton said it is making a difference.  “We get a few babies each year, not many.  And we are seeing a reduction in just abandoned babies that we were having for some time before this law.”

Shelton said parents who do decide to give up their newborn under the Safe Babies Law should not give their name or any personal information when leaving their infants.

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