A House committee moved a bill to the floor legalizing so-called “baby boxes” while putting in jeopardy the status of the state’s two existing devices.
Baby boxes are meant to be a more anonymous way for someone to leave an unwanted newborn. There are concerns surrounding the devices, focused on a lack of testing, industry standards, or best practices.
The bill makes it legal to drop off a baby in a designated box in a hospital without facing child abandonment charges.
In House committee, Department of Child Services legislative director Parvonay Stover again registered her agency’s qualms about sanctioning the devices.
“We’ve been pretty consistent through the whole process that we’re concerned about using devices or boxes as a substitute for surrendering an infant into the arms of a person,” Stover says.
The bill would not legalize the state’s two existing baby boxes, both of which are in firehouses. Monica Kelsey runs the non-profit responsible for those boxes.
“The two fire stations we’re still working on. This bill is not over yet; we’ll have to see how it ends,” Kelsey says.
The House committee unanimously approved the measure.