On Thursday, the West Virginia Senate approved a bill that would provide “baby box” safe surrender facilities around the state.
Once a committee modification was introduced and approved, the Senate’s 32-0 decision sends the bill back to the House of Delegates for concurrence. The House already approved the bill.
The Safe Haven Law in West Virginia currently permits the transfer of infants less than 30 days to a hospital, healthcare facility, or fire department that is staffed around the clock. A baby box would have an alarm system installed under the proposed legislation to notify anyone nearby that a child has been placed within.
The bill mandates testing and visual equipment inspections to guarantee the alarm system is operational. A 911 call will be made if facility employees do not respond within minutes after a child is placed in the device, which requires the facility to be informed within 30 seconds.
On its website, Safe Haven Baby Boxes, a company based in Woodburn, Indiana, claims that 25 infants have been turned over at the devices nationwide since 2017. The company has 140 baby boxes and drawers spread throughout 10 states.