We’re a step closer to getting Safe Haven baby boxes for unwanted children in Alabama
A bill the Kids to Love Foundation spearheaded has passed the Alabama Legislature, paving the way to update Alabama’s “Safe Haven” law and making sure children unwanted by their parents can be delivered into capable and loving hands without fear.
House Bill 473 allows the installation of “baby boxes” in Alabama where parents could safely and anonymously leave a child for foster care.
Under current Alabama law, parents who do not wish to keep their newborn may surrender the child to a hospital with an emergency department within 72 hours of the child’s birth. That child then goes into Alabama Department of Human Resources custody once they’re released from the hospital, and they’re placed in foster care.
The new law will expand the time parents have to anonymously surrender a child from 72 hours of birth to within 45 days of birth. It also expands the places the child may be surrendered from just hospitals to fire stations that are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week year-round.
Those places will be able to install Safe Haven baby boxes, which allow a person to anonymously surrender a child. The boxes, which are mounted outside of a building, lock once a child has been placed inside and the door shut. An alarm alerts medical staff on site that a child has been placed inside, and they are able to secure the newborn from inside the building.
“These ‘safe haven’ law changes will have a huge impact on child welfare in Alabama,” Kids to Love Founder and CEO Lee Marshall said. “The current law’s restrictions could deter parents from getting their child the safety and security they need. These changes will make it easier for them to get their child into loving hands anonymously, safely and without fear of retaliation.”
An anonymous donor has promised funding for the first 10 Safe Haven boxes in Alabama.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Donna Givens.