Thursday, May 28, 2009

Safe haven bill supporters prevail

Today the Committee on Human Services held a hearing on B18-0180, "Newborn Safe Haven Act of 2009", a bill that would create a legislative framework for giving up very young children without penalty to the parent under specific conditions.   CMs Tommy Wells (chair of the committee and Ward 6 representative) and David Catania (At-large member) attended and actively participated in the hearing.   The bill is a collaborative one between CMs Wells and Catania; to say that the latter is passionate about this issue is a tremendous understatement.

Four public witnesses testified today:

  • Robert Malson, Chief Executive Officer of the DC Hospital Association (DCHA)
  • Marley Greiner, brought in to testify by child welfare advocates opposing the bill
  • Joyce A. Fourth Clemons, Communications Director of the DC Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy
  • Susan Ogden, Domestic Infant Program Director at Adoptions Together

Dr. Roque Gerald and Loren Ganoe, both from CFSA, represented the executive.

No matter the objections from two of the witnesses, seems that this bill will go forward with some modifications.   DCHA's Bob Malson and CFSA are expected to pitch in with additional information and some TA.   Final passage will make CM Catania very happy indeed.