Boarder Babies: Who Are They & What Can We Do?

September 9, 2017


Boarder Babies (noun): an infant who remains in the hospital even though medically ready for discharge. Babies stay in the hospital due to legal complications, questions about the parents’ ability to care for the babies, and a lack of care alternatives.


Boarder babies are infants that are born at the hospital and are free to be discharged, but the problem is that they have nowhere to go. They have nowhere to call home. The baby is abandoned at the hospital, usually after a few days.


The longest case of a boarder baby is Georgia is 11 months, and the shortest case was 1 month. These babies were held in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) during this time period with no place to go.


Sadly, these healthy babies remain in hospitals for sometimes up to long periods and miss out on important milestones in the beginning stages of their lives. One case was an 11 month old boarder baby not having any interest in crawling or socializing, probably due to not attaching to being cared for in such a way that a loving family can provide.


Caring for a Boarder Baby in a hospital can range from $750 to $2,000 a day depending on the baby’s condition, and this expense is paid for with the citizens’ taxes in that community. Hosting Boarder Babies also limits the availability for the hospital staff to care for other sick babies, who may desperately need the beds. Even more, it can also put more stress on nurses to give love and affection to these babies who are healthy and ready to be discharged.


None of these side affects or consequences are the baby’s fault, but it is important to recognize the many facets of this topic. The Department of Family of Children’s Services (DFCS), is notified first of an abandoned baby at a hospital, There is a DFCS case worker for each of these babies but keep in mind those case workers can change.

Sometimes they are not able to find a home to care for the infant. And do not have the availability and/or resources to take in a new baby. In this scenario, the hospital becomes to caretaker and tries their best to provide care for the abandoned baby.


Furthermore, one of the biggest issues regarding Boarder Babies is that there is barely any information on them. There are cases here and there that rarely make the news, but it is extremely difficult to find statistics on Boarder Babies in certain states and to see what is being done for these abandoned infants.


The goal of The Hope Box is to rescue abandoned babies, and boarder babies can be considered one type of abandonment.


In the circumstance of a boarder baby, The Hope Box seeks to be the bridge that connects a baby to a loving family. What this looks like is working with local government, communities and hospitals to assess the baby’s condition and to see if the baby could be and/or is ready for adoption. This is important because bonding is crucial at the beginning of a baby’s life for healthy brain, develiment and so many other developments for a baby touch is key looking in eyes we could go on and on. These things all play a huge part in the growth of a baby.  



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