WASHINGTON -- An initiative to support local programs that help prevent deaths of abandoned babies was passed Tuesday by the U.S. House of Representatives.
U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart of Bradford Woods, Pa., R-4th, introduced a section of the legislation after the body of an abandoned baby was found in a wooded section of Ellwood City, part of her district.
House Resolution 2873 approves and increases funding for the "Promoting Safe and Stable Families" program, which provides grants for family support, adoption promotion and support services.
This plan includes Hart's original bill, House Resolution 2018, "Safe Havens Support Act 2001," which makes efforts to support and promote "safe havens" an allowable use of federal funds by states.
Safe havens are designated areas where unwanted newborns can be left by a parent with no questions asked. Often these safe havens are hospitals.
The legislation would reauthorize the Safe and Stable Families program for five years, adding a new $200 million authorization on top of the current $305 million in mandatory funding the program received in fiscal year 2001, for a total authorization of $505 million per fiscal year through 2006.
Hart said there are safe-haven laws in 35 states.
The bill must now go the U.S. Senate for a vote.