The Journal Gazette
Thursday, April 06, 2017 1:00 am

Woodburn 'baby box' may get grandfathered

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana House accepted an amendment Wednesday that would grandfather two existing “baby boxes” under Indiana law, including one in Woodburn.

Rep. Dave Heine, R-New Haven, brought the change to Senate Bill 246.

A full vote on the legislation will happen today.

The bill generally would provide immunity for mothers who leave children in newborn safety incubators. But the protection was only provided for devices installed at hospitals that are staffed 24 hours a day.

The two existing devices are at fire stations in Woodburn and Michigan City.

Supporters say the baby boxes are needed to allow for anonymous surrender under Indiana's Safe Haven Law. The heated, cooled and padded boxes can be attached to buildings and have an alarm that goes off when a baby is placed inside.

The two installed in Indiana have not been used for a surrender yet. That could be because the Department of Child Services has threatened prosecution for abandonment under current law calling for babies to be given face-to-face to specific providers.

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