On Tuesday morning, a newborn baby was found dead on a west Fort Worth front yard. Fort Worth police are trying to piece together the cause of the baby’s death, how the baby got there and who left them in the yard.
“This is a sad and tragic event and there could be many unknown factors contributing to this death,” CASA of Tarrant County CEO Don Binnicker told the Star-Telegram.
While the police investigation is ongoing and the baby’s cause of death is still unknown, infant abandonment could be to blame. In Texas, the “Baby Moses law” was passed in 1999 for parents who may be struggling with the care of a newborn child. It allows parents to surrender a child to a safe place, like a hospital or a fire station, where the child could receive immediate medical attention and no questions are asked of the parents.
“We would encourage parents to reach out and take advantage of this option if necessary,” Binnicker said. “We would also recommend the parent seek medical care to make sure they have no medical complications following a birth.”
Finding a newborn baby deceased “is a tragedy for the baby, the mother and our community,” said Bonnie Armstrong, executive director of the Shaken Baby Alliance. She said that she cannot imagine the circumstances involved in the “heartbreaking” case. Additional information and autopsy results are needed to understand how something like this could have happened, Armstrong added.
“While resources are available in Fort Worth, access to and awareness of these resources need to be universally available in our community,” Armstrong said. “Not everyone knows they can get help or where to go for help when needed. The final hurdle is often being able to qualify for services as resources are often limited.”
The Shaken Baby Alliance provides support to families that need it, offering parent education classes twice a month in both English and Spanish. It provides tools and resources to parents and other caregivers to help them cope with parenting and life stressors.
“We hope all parents and caregivers will reach out for assistance and education,” Armstrong said. “Being a parent or caregiver of a young child is hard.”
The Alliance for Children declined to comment, telling the Star-Telegram, “as our partners with the Fort Worth Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit are still in the early stages of investigating this case.”
The Alliance said that child abuse in Tarrant County “is a community issue, and we are grateful to and for those who are proactively protecting our most vulnerable citizens.”