Kansas bill would allow parents to safely surrender children to Safe Haven Baby Boxes
KANSAS (KCTV) - A new bill is being introduced in Kansas that would give parents the ability to safely surrender a child to a Safe Haven Baby Box if they’re not in position to take care of the baby. The legislation has already passed in Missouri, and boxes have already been installed in eight other states.
A baby box is a drop box located at emergency services or fire stations that allow someone to “legally surrender a newborn.” The proposed bill would require the box to be temperature controlled, lock and signal an alarm. Children must be younger than 60 days old, and parents would avoid any penalties and charges for using the box.
As it currently stands, parents surrendering a child in Kansas must hand the child to fire departments or emergency service professionals.
The Safe Haven Baby Box was first installed in Indiana in 2016. Since the first installation, over 120 babies have been surrendered in the United States. There are currently 134 boxes across the country.
As the proposal reaches Kansas, the House Committee on Child Welfare and Foster Care posed questions for and against the baby boxes on Monday, January 23.
“The critical issue when we heard about the baby box is that it’s always there and then when the dispatcher is notified a secondary or third source will make the check within the 5 minutes which is very rapid,” Rep. Timothy Johnson said.
“I’m just curious about the accountability if the child has some sort of abuse or neglect that’s obvious how can someone be held responsible of the whole purpose is being anonymous,” Rep. Susan Humphries said.
Kansas is still in the early stages of the bill proposal. A vote is expected in the future.
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