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Rep. Ed Butler Making Efforts To Get Safe Haven Baby Boxes In Every County

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Rep. Ed Butler Making Efforts To Get Safe Haven Baby Boxes In Every County

Representative Ed Butler pushing for legislation that will ease the possibility of putting Safe Haven Baby Boxes in every county.

A Baby Box is a safety device provided for under the state’s Safe Haven Law and legally permits a mother in crisis to safely, securely, and anonymously surrender if they are unable to care for their newborn. They are installed on the exterior of a building that operates 24 hours a day, such as a hospital or a fire station.

However, Butler said that stipulation can pose issues for more rural counties. He said there are no locations in counties such as Fentress or Morgan suitable for a box.

“Because there are very few places that are open 24 hours, so we are already working on drafting legislation to allow us to put a Safe Haven Baby Box at a 911 center or potentially at a nursing home,” Butler said. “And I think a nursing home is a great place simply because they’ve got a medical staff there.”

Butler said those are currently not included in this legislation. While he works on pushing forward the legislative changes, Butler said he also hopes to raise awareness.

Butler said he wants to do everything he can to improve the lives of not only newborn babies but those in the DCS process. He said he believes efforts taken now to get kids into better homes could help improve more than just DCS. He said it could help the Department of Education, Department of Corrections and more.

“Better students and better kids in the education which hopefully will help them avoid even needing the Department of Corrections,” Butler said. “so it’s been a real passion of mine is to try and do better in this area, and that’s not to say we’re not doing it, this Safe Haven Baby Box is a fairly new deal, but I think it’s a great idea. And unfortunately, we had a baby left several months ago, about six or eight months ago by a dumpster in Overton County. And the first Safe Haven Baby Box was put in a fire station in Knoxville at there’s already been two children dropped off. So it works.”

Butler said the next step to make this more of a reality is to find the individuals who qualify and are willing to spearhead this initiative. He said if you are interested in being a part of these efforts in your county, you can get more information from his Nashville office at 615-741-1260.

“I really do think with these baby boxes we will be able to make a difference in people’s lives,” Butler said.


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