Belen becomes fourth New Mexico city to install Safe Haven baby box

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HOBBS, N.M. — A baby box in Hobbs was dedicated in May, and exactly one month ago, the first baby was safely surrendered in it. 

Now, Belen is the fourth city in New Mexico to have a baby box in the state.

“It’s one of the things you hope is never used, but it’s available,” said Belen Mayor Robert Noblin.

Last year, $330,000 was set aside by the state to install one baby box in each of New Mexico’s 33 counties. Each box costs around $10,000 to install. 

“The ongoing $300 a year monitoring fee for this has been graciously donated by one of the local churches. So this really has been at no cost to the city,” Noblin said.

Even though no boxes are currently installed in Albuquerque — or other communities — you can still surrender a newborn, up to 90 days old, at any hospital, police or fire station by handing the baby to a first responder.

Under the Safe Haven Act you will not be criminally charged for child abandonment. 

So far, Española, Hobbs, Carlsbad and now Belen took advantage of the $10,000 funds under the Safe Haven Act to set these boxes up.

“When they make that difficult decision to surrender a baby through Safe Haven, the circumstances really are irrelevant,” said Noblin. “The fact is, you’re just making a choice to provide a safe place for the child.”

For more information on Safe Haven baby boxes, click here.