The West Virginia Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would allow “baby box” safe surrender locations in the state.
The Senate’s 32-0 vote sends the bill back to the House of Delegates to concur after a committee amendment was added and adopted. The House earlier passed the bill.
West Virginia’s Safe Haven Law already allows children less than 30 days old to be turned over to a hospital, health facility or fire department that is staffed 24 hours a day. Under the bill, a baby box would be equipped with an alarm system to alert those on site that a child has been placed inside the box.
‘BABY BOX’ LOCATIONS WILL DEBUT UNDER WEST VIRGINIA BILL
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The bill calls for testing and visual checks of the devices to ensure the alarm system is working. The facility must be notified within 30 seconds of a child being placed on the device, and a 911 call would be triggered if facility staff do not respond within minutes.
Woodburn, Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes has established 140 baby boxes and drawers across 10 states and says on its website that 25 babies have been surrendered at the devices nationwide since 2017.