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Mother uses Safe Haven law to surrender child as awareness grows

Woodburn is one of 10 fire stations in Indiana with a baby box.

Posted: Feb 25, 2019 9:46 PM
Updated: Feb 25, 2019 10:28 PM

WOODBURN, Ind. (WFFT) - A baby was surrendered at the Woodburn Fire Department over the weekend under Indiana's Safe Haven law.

Woodburn is one of 10 fire stations in Indiana with a baby box.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes said the woman called the national hotline asking how to use the baby box.

Counselors were able to contact firefighters in Woodburn, who were able to take the baby before he/she was placed in the box.

This was the third baby surrender in northeast Indiana in 2019 following ones in Kosciusko and Whitley Counties.

"They're looking to us to give them their options. They are utilizing a lot of the options we are giving them," said Monica Kelsey, Safe Haven Baby Box founder/CEO.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes installed eight boxes in fire stations in the last year after a new law expanded the program to include fire stations.

This gives women an option with no means to care for a newborn to anonymously abandon her baby legally.

"Women trust firefighters. I've been saying this for years, this is a safe place. This is a place where women can come and they know they are not going to be judged," said Kelsey.

Warsaw's fire department is looking to be the next station to get a baby box.

The city council approved the box last week.

"Obviously it is just part of what we do if a surrender situation came up and there were a baby in the box," said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer.

Thallemer said this added resource is one he hopes doesn't need to be used.

"It's just a safe option in a time when a woman has a difficult decision to make," he said.

"Safe Haven Baby Box is not a good option. It's only a good option if it is the only option she has left," said Kelsey.

Warsaw's baby box is expected to be up and running in about six weeks.

Kelsey said more are expected.

"We are actually working on 45 locations in four different states right now. It is pretty amazing thing," she said.

If you are a mother in crisis or know someone who is, don't be afraid to give the Safe Haven Baby Box hotline a call at 1-866-99BABY1 (1-866-992-2291).

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