Child abandonment case raises questions over options for parents who are in desperate situation

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Video released by Phoenix Police Monday shows a woman accused of abandoning a toddler at a store over the weekend. Fortunately, the little boy is OK, but the incident brings up a bigger issue of what options parents have, if they are in a desperate situation.

The child found on Saturday is said to be between one and two years old, which is past the age for baby safe havens, but there are still resources out there that can help parents who want to give up custody of their child.

"The process is different because the law allows you to relinquish a three day or less baby," said said Heather Burner with the Arizona Safe Baby Haven Board, in a phone interview.

With a baby much older than the law allows to be dropped off at a safe haven, what could this mother have done differently?

"When the child is older than three days, the provider would try to at least get information from parents and see if they can assist them in these other options," said Burner.

Options such as parenting and temporary placement resources, as well as adoption options, if the parents decide to go that route.

"There are safe haven locations that even if the child is outside the age limit, the mother can take the child there," said Burner. "They can work with DCS and voluntarily place a child, if they are not able to care for the child."

Safe haven locations include all Arizona hospitals, fire stations, and some churches. The woman involved in the incident will face felony charges, due to neglect and abandonment of a small child.

"A parent has options and there is help out there," said Burner.

Police are still looking for the woman in that security footage. Anyone with information should leave an anonymous tip by calling Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. Spanish speakers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Testigo Silencioso at 480-TESTIGO.

Si tiene alguna información sobre este caso, llame a la línea de Testigo Silencioso (480-TESTIGO, 480-837-8446).

Silent Witness