Bill that would bring 'baby boxes' to EMS stations passes Ind. legislature

The bill, which would also allow parents to call 911 to surrender a child, is headed to Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk


Dan Carden
The Times, Munster, Ind.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers have approved new options for Hoosier parents seeking to anonymously surrender a newborn baby because they are unable or unwilling to care for it.

Currently, a child less than 30 days old can be given up — no questions asked — by handing it to a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, physician or nurse.

A bill that would expand options for surrendering a child, including by allowing
A bill that would expand options for surrendering a child, including by allowing "baby boxes" to be installed at ambulance stations, has passed the Indiana legislature unanimously.

The baby alternatively can be placed in a newborn safety device, also known as a baby box, that's located at participating hospitals or fire stations staffed 24 hours a day.

House Enrolled Act 1230, which is headed to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to be signed into law, allows baby boxes to be located at an ambulance hub or emergency medical services station that's staffed 24 hours a day.

The legislation also authorizes a parent to call 911 to request an emergency services provider pick up a newborn baby the parent intends to permanently surrender, instead of having to find transportation to a police station, fire station, hospital or baby box.

"Safe haven laws protect the innocent and save lives," said state Rep. Ryan Lauer, R- Columbus.

The proposal was approved 88-0 in the House and 49-0 by the Senate.

More and more baby boxes have been cropping up across the Region and state as a whole. The most recent baby box installed in Northwest Indiana was at the Gary Fire Department's Engine Company 5.

There are now 60 Safe Haven Baby Boxes in operation across the U.S., with 53 in Indiana and others in Ohio, Arkansas and Florida.

Recently, the Tri Kappa Associate Chapter of Dyer, Schererville and St. John raised about $23,000 for a box in Schererville.

Fundraising efforts for the baby box, which likely will be located at Schererville Fire Station No. 2, began last fall.

The group received the $15,000 it needed to fund the Safe Haven baby box in five weeks, including $2,500 from the town of Schererville, group member Colleen DeVries previously told The Times.

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(c)2021 The Times (Munster, Ind.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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