Lawmaker proposes changing the state’s Safe Haven law

WICHITA, Kansas – A dispute whether releasing a mother’s photo after she left her baby at the hospital was warranted under the state’s Safe Haven Law.

The incident has prompted a Kansas legislator to draft a bill to protect a parent’s anonymity.

Representative Jan Pauls says changes in the language need to be made in how the Safe Haven Law works in the state of Kansas.

Pauls explained what sparked her decision to go forward with a bill. It’s after seeing a story we ran on KSN that she felt it was time to make a change to the Safe Haven Laws here in Kansas.

She drafted House Bill 2577 in hopes of changing some of the language in the law.

“What the change in the law states is it makes it very clear that the person leaving the child there doesn’t have to reveal anything to identify them,” said Pauls.

Other changes in the law provides that when a child is delivered to a hospital or fire station or whatever, that they’re not required to reveal the name of the person.

While Pauls stance is to keep the identity of the surrendering parent anonymous, KSN tried to find out what the legal ramification would be.

Local attorney Charley O’Hara says there are a couple factors the bill would need to include to make it most effective.

“Everybody that has an interest in this child should be notified, and if they all agree to seal the records and not put it out to the general public, that’s not a problem,” said O’Hara.

While Pauls moves forward to get the bill passed into law, she is pleased to see organizations changing their policy to try and protect the identity of those who choose to surrender their child at a Safe Haven, even our own policy here at KSN.

“I appreciate the fact that your station has voluntarily changed your policy on this so such a situation doesn’t happen again,” said Pauls.

Pauls says that House Bill 2577 will be heard by the Kansas Children and Seniors Committee on Tuesday. If it passes out of that committee, it will then go to the House floor for a vote.

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