An overview of Virginia law, statistics, legislation, and news stories related to Safe Haven Baby Boxes in the state.
Baby Boxes: 0
- HB 2291: establishes protocols for the placement of infants who are left in “newborn safety devices” or who are left with any personnel of a hospital or emergency medical services agency. Among protocols, the bill directs local boards of social services to contact licensed child-placing agencies from a rotating list maintained by the local board to take custody of the infant. The bill also describes the requirements for licensed child-placing agencies to be placed on the rotating list maintained by the local board of social services. Sine Die (possible return later in year)
- HB16/SB63. In a confusing process Virginia this year heard several traditional Safe Haven and SHBB bills, and eventually consolidated most of the points. Provides an affirmative defense in certain criminal prosecutions and civil proceedings regarding child abuse or neglect to a parent who safely delivers his child within the first 30 days of the child’s life to a newborn safety device located at a hospital that provides 24-hour emergency services or at an attended emergency medical services agency that employs emergency medical services personnel. The bill also provides civil and criminal immunity to such hospitals and emergency medical services agencies for injuries to children received through such newborn safety devices, provided that (i) the injuries are not the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct and (ii) the hospital or emergency medical services agency meets certain requirements regarding the establishment, functioning, and testing of the device. Current law requires the child to be delivered within the first 14 days of the child’s life at such a hospital or emergency medical services agency. Passed. Effective Date: July 1, 2022
- SB1571 – Amends state’s Safe Haven Law to authorize use of newborn safety devices located at a 24/7 emergency hospital service or agency. Passed-by indefinitely 13-1. Probably dead.
- Letter in opposition to HB2291, Adoptee Rights Law Center, dated January 20, 2023
News and Comments
- “Baby Box ” project gains momentum, Roanoke -Chowan News-Herald, February 21, 2024
- Virginia legislators expand “safe haven” laws allowing parents to give up infants, Virginia Mercury, March 7, 2022
- ASK IT: Do first responder agencies have Safe Haven boxes? Richmond Register, April 10, 2020
Updated June 11, 2023