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Butler Advocating For Safe Haven Baby Boxes Statewide

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Butler Advocating For Safe Haven Baby Boxes Statewide

Safe Haven Baby Boxes will become more common in Tennessee thanks to a $500,000 endowment.

Representative Ed Butler said an anonymous constituent set up money to purchase the facilities. Baby Boxes allow babies to be securely deposited inside, while giving the mother a chance to leave before anyone comes to retrieve the baby. Butler said he understands the concept may sound concerning, but the system is designed to keep everyone as safe as possible.

“These boxes are heated, they’re monitored twenty four hours a day, seven days a week,” Butler said. “And so an alarm goes if a baby placed in there, the box locks so that someone else can’t get the baby, and then when the authorized person arrives, typically in less than two minutes, that baby is taken to the hospital and checked out.”

Butler said the boxes are meant to deter mothers in crisis from abandoning their baby in a place like a dumpster or behind a building. He said these boxes have already been installed at various hospitals and other medical or emergency response facilities across the state.

“I passed legislation this year that expanded the locations that they could install a baby box or have a face-to-face drop off, and that was expanded to nursing homes in communities that do not have a hospital and expended to emergency communication centers that decide to participate in that program,” Butler said.

Butler said there are over 1,500 locations in the state where women could already drop off a baby, but would come face-to-face with other people.

“They can go to the hospital, emergency room, fire department, those kinds of things and drop those children off face-to-face if they so choose, but unfortunately I think there’s women, sometimes in crisis, that don’t want to face anybody,” Butler said. “And so these baby boxes allow that option to anonymously drop off that child and not feel somebody criticizing them for what they’re doing.”


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