WARSAW — Following the unveiling of the most recent Safe Haven Baby Box in Columbia City Monday, Dec. 30, there are now 19 operational baby boxes in Indiana.
Fire departments in Kosciusko County added baby boxes in Warsaw and Syracuse in 2019.
Safe Haven Baby Box Inc. is a non-profit organization founded by Pro-Life Speaker Monica Kelsey, who was abandoned as an infant.
Kelsey is committed to ensuring the safety of newborns by installing Safe Haven Baby Boxes in communities. The Safe Haven Law allows people to anonymously surrender their healthy newborn without fear of arrest or criminal prosecution.
A baby box is a safety device provided for under the Safe Haven Law. The box, which is equipped with heating and cooling features, is installed in an exterior wall of a designated fire station or hospital. The exterior door automatically locks once a newborn has been placed inside a box, and an alarm system immediately alerts 911.
New mothers can surrender their babies without the threat of prosecution under Indiana law.
The baby box in Warsaw became operational in August and is located at the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory Fire Station No. 2, 2204 E. Center St., Warsaw. Earlier that same month, a baby box became available for use at Turkey Creek Fire Station No. 2, located at 8138 E. McClintic Road, south of Syracuse.
According to Kelsey, SHBB assisted nine women in surrendering their newborns through SHBB in 2019, and two of those babies were placed in the baby boxes.
When asked if there are plans for the installation of additional Safe Haven Baby Boxes in 2020, Kelsey responded, “Yes, we are working with 45 more locations.”
The Safe Haven Baby Box organization staffs a 24-hour National Crisis hotline (1-866-99BABY1) to offer women the opportunity to speak with a trained, licensed professional as they consider safely surrendering their newborn. To date, the hotline has received close to 4,000 calls from every state in the United States.