NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Department of Social Services will seek a care order from the court today to ensure that the four-day-old baby boy found on Saturday legally becomes a ward of the state, advised Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell yesterday.
Police reported late Saturday afternoon that the newborn was discovered in an abandoned building off East Street shortly after 11am.
An anonymous caller reportedly told police that construction workers found the child wrapped in a blanket while at the Church of the Nazarene.
Police have been appealing to the public to help locate the mother of the child, who may be in need of “medical care and attention”.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Campbell said the child is “resting comfortably” in the Children’s Ward at Princess Margaret Hospital at this time.
“The care order makes the child officially a ward of the state, makes me the de facto father as the minster [and] the director as the de facto mother,” he explained.
“So, from that point on we have the legal right to make the decisions for the child.”
He continued, “Normally, we don’t take them into the homes until about six weeks.
“After that, the child will probably end up in one of our homes if there is no parent or family member discovered.”
Campbell said the department will not entertain any adoption discussions until a relative of the child comes forward.
“We are more concerned about who the mother is; that is our immediate concern, not so much about where the child should go,” he said.
“The child is safe right in the precincts of the hospital, so our immediate concern is who is the mother.”
In September 2016, police reported that a newborn baby boy was found in bushes off Carmichael Road.
“I don’t want to just immediately connect it to the pandemic,” he said.
“The pandemic does not stop a mother from going to the hospital and giving birth properly and then leaving the child there if that is the decision. So, I wouldn’t immediately connect it to the pandemic.”
Campbell advised that there are a number of options women can take in these situations, notwithstanding the pandemic, including calling the hotlines with the Bahamas Crisis Center and the Department of Social Services hotlines at 322-2763 or 422-2763.
“We have the 919 emergency that would send an ambulance to come and get you, that would take you to the hospital free of charge, that would give you all the necessary healthcare to ensure that you and your baby are safe and they will keep you there for a few days until such time as the mother is able to safely leave,” he added.
“And if the mother chooses that she cannot at this time take the child with her, the hospital won’t force her — the baby will be cared for.
“A concerned mother will want to know the child is in safe hands even though she may not be able to take care of the child.
“…There are family options. There are people on the street, well-wishers, who will help a pregnant woman in distress.”