(LEX 18) — A Kentucky teen is advocating to bring Safe Haven Baby Boxes to Kentucky.
Isabella Lamkin started a petition to get the boxes in Kentucky. It's a cause that hits close to home because she was abandoned as a baby after being born in China.
"I don't want other babies to have to go through what I went through, and if I can help prevent it, then I'm going to try my 110% to do that," Isabella said.
The petition asks Kentucky lawmakers to pass a law giving first responders indemnification. The CEO and founder of the nonprofit, Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Monica Kelsey, said enacting a law is also a signal that Kentuckians want these boxes in the state.
"We also want the permission from the State of Kentucky to do this," Kelsey said. "We don't want to be the red-headed stepchild in another state that's coming into your state just because; we want people to understand the program. We want people to understand that this is an option for women and that women don't have to use it if they don't want to. They can continue to use the Safe Haven law as it is now."
According to Safe Haven Baby Boxes, at least four babies have been abandoned in Kentucky in the past four years.
One of those cases gained attention in 2018 when a parent dropped their child outside a Bowling Green fire station.
"For those women who are continuing to dump their children, wouldn't those have been better off in a safety device?" Kesley questioned.
Kelsey noted that the boxes have been successful in other states, including over 50 boxes in Indiana and several others in Ohio, Arkansas and Florida.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes allow a parent to surrender their child safely, securely, and anonymously if they cannot take care of the newborn.
They are installed at Safe Haven locations, such as a fire station, police station, or a hospital. A parent can place the baby inside the temperature-controlled "box," and 911 is automatically notified so first responders or hospital staff can be alerted that a baby has been surrendered.
Watch here to see how they work:
Parents in crisis can call the Safe Haven Baby Boxes national hotline for guidance and support. The number is 1-866-99-BABY1.