Requires health education to be taught in high schools regarding the abandoned infant protection program; requires health teachers to be trained in pregnancy concealment.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to health education regarding the abandoned infant protection program
PURPOSE: This legislation requires all schools to include instruction regarding the abandoned infant protection program and information about responsible parenting and the availability of confidential adoption services as part of health education.
In addition, it requires all health teachers to receive training to increase awareness of pregnancy concealment.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The education law is amended to add a new section 805. Subsection one requires schools to include instruction regarding the abandoned infant protection program, information about responsible parenting and the availability of confidential adoption services as part of the health education curriculum.
Subsection two provides that such instruction shall be taught by the regular classroom teachers or by teachers certified to teach health education, and shall be designed according to the needs and abilities of the pupils at successive grade levels.
Subsection three requires that all health teachers in New York receive training to increase awareness of pregnancy concealment and to identify students that may be concealing a pregnancy. Such training shall be developed by the Department of Education in conjunction with the Department of Health.
JUSTIFICATION: Under current law, the Abandoned Infant Protection Act allows individuals to safely abandon an infant not more than 30 days old with an appropriate person or in a suitable location without the fear of criminal prosecution. All fifty states have adopted some form of this law.
Under New York's law, the Office of Children and Family Services is charged with disseminating informational material about the Abandoned Infant Protection Act to hospitals and clinics, and the public.
However, campaigns targeting hospitals and clinics may not reach those women most at risk. Experts on neonaticide say that in many cases, women who kill or unsafely abandon their infants do not seek medical care during the pregnancy, and instead conceal the pregnancy and deliver the infant at home.
In addition, the law's effectiveness is also diminished due to insufficient financing of the public awareness campaigns. After the law was first passed in 2000, the Office of Children and Family Services developed public service announcements, but they stopped being broadcast after a year. Outreach is essentially limited to the
distribution of pamphlets and brochures at hospitals, high schools and public events.
In states such as Illinois, which have incorporated instruction on the law into teenagers' health education curriculum, the number of infants illegally abandoned and found dead has been decreasing in tandem with such instruction.
Therefore, in order to increase the effectiveness of the Abandoned Infant Protection Act and save lives, this bill will increase awareness in a cost efficient manner by incorporating instruction on the law into the school health curriculum.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect July 1, 2010; provided, however, that effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date is authorized to be made and completed on or before such date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5480 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 25, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. ADAMS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to health education regarding the abandoned infant protection program THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 805 to read as follows: S 805. HEALTH EDUCATION REGARDING THE ABANDONED INFANT PROTECTION PROGRAM; PREGNANCY CONCEALMENT. 1. ALL SCHOOLS SHALL INCLUDE, AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF HEALTH EDUCATION, INSTRUCTION REGARDING THE ABANDONED INFANT PROTECTION PROGRAM SET FORTH IN SECTION THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY-TWO-G OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW AND SHALL PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT RESPONSIBLE PARENTING AND THE AVAILABILITY OF CONFIDENTIAL ADOPTION SERVICES. 2. INSTRUCTION REQUIRED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE HEALTH EDUCATION PROVIDED FOR ALL HIGH SCHOOL PUPILS AND SHALL BE TAUGHT BY THE REGULAR CLASSROOM TEACHERS OR BY TEACHERS CERTI- FIED TO TEACH HEALTH EDUCATION. SUCH INSTRUCTION SHALL BE DESIGNED ACCORDING TO THE NEEDS AND ABILITIES OF THE PUPILS AT SUCCESSIVE GRADE LEVELS. 3. ALL HEALTH TEACHERS IN THIS STATE SHALL RECEIVE TRAINING TO INCREASE AWARENESS OF PREGNANCY CONCEALMENT AND TO IDENTIFY STUDENTS THAT MAY BE CONCEALING A PREGNANCY. THE METHOD, MANNER AND CONTENT OF SUCH TRAINING SHALL BE DEVELOPED AND IMPLEMENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, AND SHALL INCLUDE INSTRUCTION ON PROCEDURES THAT SHOULD BE FOLLOWED WHEN A STUDENT IS IDENTIFIED AS POTENTIALLY CONCEALING A PREGNANCY. S 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012; provided, however, that effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effec- tive date is authorized to be made and completed on or before such date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD11856-01-1