Sens. O’Brien and Jones introduce ‘safe care’ plan bills

LANSING, Mich. — Senator Margaret O’Brien and Sen. Rick Jones have introduced legislation to require a “Plan of Safe Care” for babies born with substance abuse.

“I was upset when I learned of the correlation found connecting babies born with illegal drugs in their system and infant mortality,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “We must make sure that babies and their mothers with substance abuse disorders get the help they need, which would include evidence-based home visiting program and be tailored to each baby’s needs.”

Jones’ bill, Senate Bill 397, would define a “Plan of Safe Care” as a plan developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), a medical professional or another provider that addresses the health and safety needs of the newborn infant affected by substance abuse.

The plan would also address the substance use disorder treatment needs of the mother and the service needs of another caregiver or family members.

“Sadly, far too many Michigan babies are born addicted to illegal drugs,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “This is about protecting all Michigan newborns and ensuring that every infant affected by drug or alcohol disorders receives effective treatment. Home visits under a safe care plan would not be invasive and can be used as a tool to help teach new mothers to address their needs and provide a safe place for their new babies to live and thrive.”

Sen. O’Brien’s bill, SB 398, would require that a newborn infant identified as being affected by substance use disorder, withdrawal symptoms or fetal alcohol disorder will have a Plan of Safe Care developed for them.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee for consideration.