Indiana bill aims to expand availability of Safe Haven Baby Boxes

What started as a way to save innocent children in 2015 has grown into a lot more, and a bill currently making its way through the Indiana State House and Senate may help the program grow even more.

Posted: Mar 30, 2021 8:49 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2021 11:09 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - What started as a way to save innocent children in 2015 has grown into a lot more, and a bill currently making its way through the Indiana State House and Senate may help it grow even more.

House Bill 1032, if passed, will allow for "Newborn Safety Devices" to be installed at volunteer fire stations, meaning Safe Haven Baby Boxes would be allowed to expand into more Indiana communites.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder Monica Kelsey says the city of Woodburn is a perfect example of why this expansion is needed.

Kelsey explained, "This community is less than 2,000 people and we’ve never had a safe haven surrender prior to that, but yet we had one February 22nd, 2019 because a woman trusted us enough to bring us her child."

First introduced in the state House, the bill passed by a vote of 95-0.

District 85 Representative Dave Heine, R,  says the vote was simple.

"It increases the number of baby boxes that we’ll have in our state and it’ll save babies’ lives. That’s why I voted yes," Heine said. "It really opens up the state."

Amendments on the bill from the state Senate committee on Family and Children Services include a response time of no more than four minutes if a baby is left in the box at a volunteer fire station, and is less than a mile away from a hospital or place that has an ems or police officer on staff 24/7, along with a few other amendements.

For Kelsey, she wishes struggling mothers didn’t have to choose this option, saying "The baby box is not a good option. It’s only a good option if it’s the only option this mother has left."

However, she recognizes that partly because of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, no abandoned children have been found dead in Indiana since Baby Amelia in 2014.

Kelsey believes expanding their availability will protect more children and save more lives.

"This a good option for volunteer fire stations for rural communities where most of the firefighters in the community know the kids that are at the high school," Kelsey explained. "It is a good thing that this bill is getting passed."

The bill has a Do Pass Recommendation from the Senate Committee and will make it's way back to the state House for revision before a final vote.

For more resources for struggling mothers, contact the National Safe Baby Hotline at 1-866-99-BABY1 (1-866-992-2291) or visit Safe Haven Baby Boxes' website.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1007681

Reported Deaths: 16470
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1355212121
Lake664101166
Allen57993801
Hamilton46350465
St. Joseph44397615
Elkhart35949510
Vanderburgh32251480
Tippecanoe27933260
Johnson25107445
Hendricks23897359
Porter22929365
Madison18748409
Clark18557252
Vigo17479303
Monroe15263200
LaPorte15173250
Delaware15073263
Howard14748290
Kosciusko12348148
Hancock11728176
Bartholomew11639180
Warrick11292189
Floyd11108215
Wayne10986253
Grant10082220
Morgan9472176
Boone8926115
Dubois8271131
Henry8229152
Dearborn822393
Noble8031106
Marshall7939135
Cass7546121
Lawrence7457171
Shelby7189119
Jackson698289
Gibson6597115
Harrison649192
Knox6421106
Huntington6395100
DeKalb632399
Montgomery6264111
Miami593398
Putnam581278
Clinton576171
Whitley565755
Steuben562576
Wabash5332104
Jasper532079
Jefferson511297
Ripley500586
Adams482576
Daviess4677114
Scott438974
Greene425196
Wells424888
Clay423360
White418764
Decatur4169102
Fayette406587
Jennings387361
Posey376644
Washington359151
LaGrange359078
Randolph3452100
Spencer340243
Fountain335760
Sullivan329452
Starke317171
Owen314771
Fulton312667
Orange293664
Jay284645
Franklin265643
Perry265452
Rush262432
Carroll261934
Vermillion258654
Parke231426
Pike229243
Tipton228159
Blackford193142
Pulaski183757
Crawford159823
Newton158348
Benton150617
Brown146747
Martin138719
Switzerland135011
Warren121116
Union107016
Ohio84613
Unassigned0540

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1515838

Reported Deaths: 23955
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1640131696
Cuyahoga1460532459
Hamilton1052061431
Montgomery738951279
Summit616491111
Lucas56212917
Butler51500718
Stark465771064
Lorain35525585
Warren32769377
Mahoning30719693
Clermont28151330
Lake26979448
Delaware24159164
Licking23882294
Trumbull22825561
Fairfield22354247
Greene22289326
Medina22002313
Clark19812354
Richland18559292
Portage17924252
Wood17427224
Allen15967279
Miami15524306
Muskingum14789185
Columbiana14017274
Wayne13755271
Tuscarawas12692311
Marion11957180
Scioto11452162
Pickaway11356142
Erie10867184
Ross10555203
Lawrence9746153
Ashtabula9701204
Hancock9687155
Belmont9287209
Geauga8933157
Jefferson8547199
Huron8380143
Union818859
Washington8085144
Sandusky7807151
Athens776179
Knox7705144
Darke7643158
Seneca7343145
Ashland6945130
Auglaize678699
Shelby6516115
Brown635291
Crawford6261130
Defiance6192105
Mercer614593
Fulton601296
Highland599399
Madison593978
Guernsey589771
Logan587996
Clinton582993
Preble5710125
Putnam5323110
Williams528088
Perry517363
Champaign511573
Jackson508573
Ottawa486286
Coshocton482283
Morrow458158
Pike433467
Fayette428263
Hardin418080
Gallia417267
Adams416695
Van Wert370882
Henry364072
Holmes3624125
Hocking356482
Wyandot322962
Carroll301765
Paulding279447
Meigs264651
Monroe215554
Noble199747
Morgan193933
Harrison181446
Vinton165525
Unassigned05
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