INDIANAPOLIS — Three healthy newborns were safely surrendered with help from Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana within a five day period last week.
The first infant was surrendered at the Cleveland Township Baby Box in Elkhart. The exact date of the surrender was not released, but less than two days later a second infant was surrendered in the Wayne Township Fire Station's baby box in Indianapolis.
"The system worked smoothly for the mother, the child, and the first responders that received the newborn," Captain Eric Banister, PIO for the Wayne Township Fire Dept. said. "Seeing this valuable program work as designed, we encourage anyone in crisis to utilize this safe and legal service."
READ | Indiana's Safe Haven Baby Boxes are saving - and changing - lives
During a press conference for the first two surrenders on Mar. 6, Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder Monica Kelsey announced that their organization had helped with the safe surrender of a third infant as well.
The third infant was surrendered at the Safe Haven Baby Box located at the Turkey Creek Fire Territory Station 1 in Syracuse, Indiana.
“While we understand that the surrender of a baby is a difficult decision to make, our department is proud to be available as an option when and if this decision must be made under the Indiana Safe Haven Law," Turkey Creek Fire Territory Station 1 Fire Chief Mickey Scott said about the surrender.
"Indiana is making history, we are changing the way that shame and judgement is given," Kelsey said during the press conference. "Because at these baby boxes there is no shame, there is no judgment and there are no names, and that's a good thing."
Kentucky and Florida have each had one newborn saved via a Baby Box this year as well.
“We are very blessed that these mothers chose to lovingly and legally surrender their infant," Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes said in a press release issued Sunday. "It is an act of sacrificial love for the best interest of the infant."
You can watch the official press conference held at the Wayne Township Fire Station below.
Under Indiana's Safe Haven law, parents have up to 30 days to change their mind once they surrender an infant.
Last year 8 newborns were surrendered via Baby Boxes, according to the organization.
LIST | Find a Safe Haven Baby Box Near You
Kelsey, who was abandoned as an infant, has dedicated her life to helping mothers in crisis and giving them a safe, anonymous way to surrender their babies without fear of persecution or judgment.
READ | Behind the Box: A mother's story of surrendering her infant out of love
Since the first Safe Haven Baby box was installed in Indiana, 21 infants have been placed safely in the boxes. Nationwide, the organization has assisted with 125 safe surrenders stemming from calls to the Safe Haven Baby Box Hotline.
There are currently 136 Safe Haven Baby Boxes available in Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and New Mexico.
Of those boxes, 96 are located across the state of Indiana. The box in Wayne Township is the only Safe Haven Baby Box in Indianapolis, according to Kelsey.
What is a Safe Haven Baby Box?
Baby boxes are safe incubators that have alarm systems, so 911 is notified as soon as a baby is placed inside. The baby boxes also have heating and cooling features.
READ | Meet Grace: One of Indiana's Safe Haven babies
Once the infant is collected by first responders, they're taken to the nearest medical facility to be evaluated.
Infants surrendered under Indiana's Safe Haven Law are placed in the custody of the state's Department of Child Services after they are released from the hospital. The process then begins to find an adoptive family within 30-45 days.
@safehavenbabyboxes How does a baby box work? #Saving #AbandonedBabies #SafeHaven #NoMoreBabiesInDumpsters #SafeHavenBabyBoxes #SavingLives ♬ original sound - Monica Kelsey
Safe Haven Hotline
The boxes make the news, but the Safe Haven Hotline is where most of these journeys begin.
SHBB staffs a 24-hour Safe Haven hotline (1-866-99BABY1), so parents can talk to trained professionals and get more information about their options for surrendering or how to get assistance to help them be able to care for their child.
The SHBB hotline is staffed by licensed counselors.
The Safe Haven Law allows mothers to safely surrender their infants, anonymously, up to 30 days old
Under the Safe Haven Law, parents have up to 30 days to change their mind once they surrender an infant.
See the map below for locations of all available Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana and across the country.