Founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes touts success of law

Local News

Days after a baby was surrendered in Columbia City, the founder of the Safe Haven Baby Boxes is touting success.

On Friday, Monica Kelsey spoke to students at the University of Saint Francis during a seminar. 

Kelsey, who was abandoned as an infant, discussed her life journey which led to the introduction of baby boxes at fire stations in many states. She said since the law was passed, 50 babies have been surrendered and three with the help of baby boxes. 

“These boxes are just another life saving device for a mother in crisis, that’s all they are and some communities want to offer that option,” Kelsey explained. 

Under the Safe Haven Law, babies under 45 days old can be surrendered at any police department, fire station or hospital. A baby box makes the experience for the mother more anonymous. Currently, Indiana has 8 active baby boxes. 

Columbia City is one community expressing interest in a baby box. This week, a woman called the Safe Haven Hotline and asked to surrender her baby. Without a baby box in the city, authorities set up a safe place for the surrender to take place. The mayor of Columbia City, Ryan Daniel, told WANE 15 he is now contemplating having a baby box installed. 

“The first baby that was placed in a box was a game changer, second baby, I mean it’s like the more success that we do, the more people are seeing this success and want to be a part of it,” added Kelsey. 

The city of Warsaw also wants to be part of the effort. On Tuesday night, the city council voted unanimously in favor of a baby box. The vote came several days after another baby was surrendered to authorities in Kosciusko County. 

“We’ve never had that, especially two counties back to back. Kosciusko County and Whitley County and that’s huge and both of those are small communities, not big cities, so you’re going to see us a lot more.”

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