- HB 374 waiting for Governor’s Signature
SANTA FE – Distraught parents who want to give up their unwanted infants now have another place where they can drop them off and keep them safe.
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane (D-Bernalillo-15) expands Safe Haven sites to include fire stations and law enforcement locations such as police or sheriff’s departments.
House Bill 374a “Safe Haven for Infants Site Definition” is now awaiting the Governor’s signature after passing the Senate on Wednesday.
“It’s a very compassionate bill,” Kane said. “We wanted to make sure that rural areas – where they don’t have hospitals or where clinics are closed after hours – would have some other options.”
Kane, who has been a firefighter and a paramedic for more than 20 years, says this bill can help prevent child abuse.
“The idea of expanding the Safe Haven sites came from the field where firefighters see really tragic things happen. Establishing a fire station as a Safe Haven makes sense. We’re the pre-hospital people, we’re the people who are out there, who also know how to take care of all ages of children and have medical expertise,” she said. “In the case of law enforcement, they know how to access agencies that can help those infants.”
HB 374a allows a person to leave an infant with staff of a safe haven site without any fear of any charges or any questions or issues about why.
The infant must be been born within 90 days of being left at the safe haven site. Children Youth and Families Department would get involved at that point and would look at a way to place the child.
This is Kane’s first bill to reach the Governor’s desk. She was elected in 2012 to represent District 15 in Bernalillo County.