A newborn baby found under a tree near a daycare center in Pompano Beach will be considered abandonded, a judge ruled Friday.
The boy, who believed to be between one and three days old, was found Thursday wrapped in a blanket on a patch of dirt nestled between a parking lot and three-foot hedge at Northeast 2nd Street and 2nd Avenue.
A woman who had just picked up her child from Queen's Little Angels Child Care Center spotted the blanket behind the hedges as she was walking home with a friend.
The judge also granted child investigators access to the baby's medical records.
The Broward Sheriff's Office said that while there are no physical signs of harm, it does appear that the boy's umbilical cord was not surgically cut. They don't think he was born in a medical facility.
The baby was taken to Holy Cross Hospital.
An arraignment was scheduled for March 12.
Paige Patterson-Hughes, the communications director of the southeast region of the Department of Children and Families, answered questions about the case asked by Local 10. The questions are below in bold.
- Where does the baby go now? Once the baby is released from the hospital, he will remain under DCF's care and custody and be placed in foster care.
- Who will actually have custody of the baby upon his release from the hospital? Upon his release from the hospital, the baby will remain in the legal custody of DCF.
- The judge found probable cause for abandonment -- what does this signify? As it is unknown at this time who the child's legal parents are (they are not known or identified), and there is no other adult relative known, the judge placed the baby in the state's care, having found that the baby was at imminent risk of abuse, abandonment or neglect (after being abandoned).
- The judge mentioned an arraignment for March 12 -- arraignment for whom? This arraignment date was set in the event that authorities are able to identify one or both of the child's parents. Also, no visitation is permitted - as the parents are not known or identified.
- How long will the search go on for the parents? A diligent search usually takes one or two months. In this case, it might take place more quickly, as we do not have any names. More information on abandonment relating to the termination of parental rights can be found in FSS 39.806 (1) and is defined in 39.01.
- Who is searching for the parents -- law enforcement, child protective investigators? Law enforcement is involved because of the crime of abandonment and ChildNet also will complete a diligent search. ChildNet is the lead community-based care agency contracted by DCF.
- While the baby is in the hospital, who has custody of him? The child is in DCF's care.