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Indiana’s Safe Haven Laws Updated to Increase Accessibility

Recently, the Senate Family and Children Services Committee in Indiana voted on House Bill 1230, to pass. HB 1230, or the Safe Haven extension bill, was passed with no dissenting votes. The Safe Haven law was enacted to help parents in distress have a secure location to drop their young babies off without any questions or penalties. Babies that are as old as 30 days can be surrendered to an emergency medical staff member of a fire department or hospital where the safe boxes are located.

Representative Ryan Lauer, R-Columbus authored the bill which offers parents more support by presenting them with the ability to have an emergency service professional come to them to accept a baby. There are situations in which a parent may not have the ability to transport a baby to one of the Safe Haven box locations. This increases the risk that a baby could be abandoned and be severely injured or die from the incident.

How Do the Safe Haven Baby Boxes Work?

Mothers who are struggling and who do not want to or are unable to take care of their babies can go to one of the designated baby box drop-off locations and have their child safely accepted by a medical professional. Some mothers are without the means to transport their child to the baby box location. Particularly those who live in rural areas could have a much more difficult time getting to a location. When a mother in crisis can call an emergency service professional to come out to where they are located and retrieve the baby, the child has a greater likelihood to be rescued from harm and be placed in a welcoming and loving home.

There was widespread support for the bill. The Indiana Public Defender Council, the Fire Department Association, and Right to Life provided testimony advocating for the legislation. Not only does the bill allow mothers to call an emergency service professional to pick up a child, but it will also allow for more flexibility in locations. Rural areas do not have as many hospitals or fire departments, which makes it much more challenging to take advantage of the law. So in response, areas where medical staff on standby will be approved locations for dropping off a young baby.

Indiana is leading the way for the United States when it comes to the baby drop-off program. Currently, there are 60 drop-off locations across the country, and Indiana has 53 of them. The National Safe Haven Alliance reports that between 1999 to 2018 there were well over 4,000 babies that were given up by parents. In Indiana, since 2008, the program has received 48 babies.

Speak to an Indiana Family Law Attorney Today

Christopher L. Arrington is an Indiana family law attorney who knows some decisions in life, especially when it comes to children, can be especially challenging. If you have a question about family law or need legal representation for divorce, child custody, child support, or paternity, call Christopher L. Arrington, a Plainfield bankruptcy lawyer, to schedule a free consultation at (317) 745-4494.

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