ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) – A new Safe Haven Baby Box was unveiled in Angola Monday.
The box, which is located at the Angola Fire Station, is the fifteenth of its kind in Indiana. Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder and CEO Monica Kelsey said the Angola installation has been in the works for Safe Haven Baby Boxes for a couple of months now. While there are now several boxes in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio, a major factor in Angola being chosen as the next was it’s proximity to Michigan.
Right now, the closest baby box to Michigan is in the northwest corner of the state in Michigan City, Indiana. Kelsey said that they have been looking to install boxes closer to the Michigan border after a Safe Haven bill was shot down by the state’s governor.
“We passed the baby box bill in the state of Michigan and the governor vetoed it, saying that he is forcing women to walk into facilities and hand their children to a person and that’s completely against what we stand for,” said Kelsey. “We want women to do that, yes, but if they won’t then we want to give them a safe place to place their child rather than a dumpster.”
Safe Haven Baby Boxes are designed to give people a way to anonymously surrender their newborn children without a fear of criminal prosecution. When a baby is placed inside, an alarm sounds to alert a local hospital or emergency responders. Since the first box was installed in Woodburn, Indiana in 2016, seven infants have been surrendered with the help of Safe Haven. While Safe Haven sees every safe child as a success, Kelsey said that there is still work to be done to prevent abandonments.
“We don’t look at success by how many babies we find in boxes,” said Kelsey. “We value our success on how many babies are not found in dumpsters or abandoned. Yes, we’ve saved seven babies in the state of Indiana this year but we also had one abandonment so there is more work that needs to be done in this state to make sure that every mom knows that this option is available to her if she choses it.”
The Angola baby box will be available to the public starting Monday, November 18. The next major development for the group will come in early December when they upgrade their first ever installed baby box in Woodburn.