NewsPublic Affairs / February 13, 2017

Baby Boxes Legalization Effort Halted In Committee

An amendment to legalize baby boxes didn’t get enough support to even take a vote on boxes, 2017 legislative session2017-02-13T00:00:00-05:00
Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Baby Boxes Legalization Effort Halted In Committee

vMonica Kelsey opens the baby box prototype. Saving unwanted babies is Kelsey's life mission. She was abandoned as an infant at an Ohio hospital.

Gretchen Frazee/IPB

An effort to legalize baby boxes in Indiana was halted in a Senate committee hearing about the boxes, which are meant to provide mothers an extra layer of anonymity when dropping off unwanted newborns.

In 2015, the legislature said the Department of Health should create standards and rules to govern baby boxes. But the Commission on Improving the Status of Children did not recommend the boxes and the health department declined to create rules for them.

The Department of Child Services has since challenged the legality of the state’s two existing boxes, both of which are in firehouses.

A proposed amendment to a bill on the safe haven law would officially authorize the boxes, but only in hospitals – meaning the two existing boxes wouldn’t be legal.

But DCS legislative director Parvonay Stover says baby boxes are untested.

“We can and we should require a better standard for our babies,” Stover says,

The amendment didn’t get enough support to even take a vote on it.

Amendment author Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) says he’ll try to find a compromise.

“Threading the needle is going to be the trick here to come up with language that DCS will not overly object to but is going to satisfy those who have a baby box in their community,” Holdman says.

Holdman must find his solution before the end of the month, the deadline to pass bills out of their initial chamber.



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