CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia legislative panel on Wednesday advanced a bill that would let the state establish “baby box” safe surrender locations.
The House Judiciary Committee forwarded the bill to the full House of Delegates.
West Virginia’s Safe Haven Law already allows children less than 30 days old to be turned over to a hospital, health facility or fire department that is staffed 24 hours a day.
Under the bill, a baby box would be placed in each of West Virginia’s 55 counties at one of those locations. The box would have to be padded, heated and equipped with a notification system to alert those on-site that a child has been placed inside the box.
Woodburn, Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes has established 130 baby boxes and drawers across nine states. Founder and CEO Monica Kelsey said 24 babies have been surrendered at the devices nationwide.
Kentucky now has 16 baby box locations. Kelsey said the state saw its first infant anonymously dropped off at one of the locations earlier this month.