On November 9th a 1-hour-old baby was left in a Safe Haven Box at Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department in Indiana. The story gained quite a lot of publicity and praise and now as a result more Safe Haven boxes are scheduled to be installed over the next year.
Since this story emerged, Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes has been inundated with enquiries from across the country about the boxes. In one day alone, she received over 250 calls and emails about the boxes.
The concept is to provide mothers who may be struggling for one reason or another to leave their baby safely in the baby box, with complete anonymity. The boxes are fitted with silent alarms to alert emergency and medical service persons that the box is in use.
Indiana is the only place in the country with the boxes installed at the moment, and the call from Coolspring Township was the first time the box was used since it was installed in 2016. The second box in Woodburn has not been used yet.
However, four more boxes ae scheduled for installation next year and although the specific locations are not yet know, it is believed they will be installed in Indiana and Ohio.
Local officials said that they would consider the boxes. Chesterton Police Chief David Cincoski said “I would have to say it would not ultimately be my decision, but in my opinion, it would be worth entertaining this, or a similar instrument, as it is likely better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. If there is the opportunity to save or prolong life, as to the alternative, it would be worthy of an investigative look.”
The day after the baby was found in Coolspring Township, a passerby found the remains of childbirth in a portable toilet in Chesterton. David Cincoski said officials were trying to determine the welfare of the mother and baby, but not as a criminal matter. He said there was no update whether or not the birth was related to the baby in the box.
Even though there has been numerous inquiries about the boxes, Crown Point Fire Chief David Crane said he would be interested in learning more about the boxes, however, he is not entirely sure of the demand for them seeing as there has only been one case in over a year.
Explaining his concerns he said “Fire stations have been a safe haven to drop off your child for 15 years, and we’ve not had anyone do that in Crown Point. I have a lot of information I need to gather, but I’m not opposed to it,” he said.
In saying that Kelsey believes the Coolspring Township case is proof of the need for the Safe Haven boxes. She said “This was a huge boost for the Safe Haven community on education and awareness because more people are aware of the Safe Haven Law because of what this mother did.”
The boxes are designed as a last resort for struggling mothers who don’t want to give a baby over to authorities face to face. Under Indiana’s Safe Haven Law, an unwanted baby can be left anonymously at hospitals, fire stations and police stations without the fear of prosecution.
That is why the boxes work. Following the incident, both Kelsey and the Coolspring Township fire officials said this particular box did its job, the mother got anonymity and the baby was cared for.
After being examined, so long as there are no signs of abuse, then the infant is placed in care through Child Protective Services and subsequently no information is needed about the mother who left the baby.
Reiterating her point for the need for more Baby boxes Kelsey said “I don’t think they don’t care what happens to their child. If this is all they can do, then this is enough.”
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