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Proposed Safe Haven Baby Box Under Consideration In Columbus

Columbus Fire Station 3 is the initial proposed location for the baby box. (Steve Burns, WFIU/WTIU News)

A Columbus North High School senior is raising money to install a Safe Haven baby box at a local fire station by spring 2019.

Hunter Wart met with fire department and city officials to discuss plans last week but began raising money for the project this summer.

The meeting was a brief discussion of what he would like to do and some general information about baby boxes, says Mike Wilson, the Columbus fire department’s public information officer.

City officials will decide if the baby box proposal will be approved under advisement of the fire department.

“We’re looking at all the factors involved,” says Wilson. “And then we’re going to try to make an informed decision if this is a program we can move forward on.”

The city and department are hoping to learn as much about the program as possible and expect Wart’s proposal will contain more details and ideas about funding and partnerships.

Factors to be considered include additional training, location, costs associated with the program, and its effectiveness over time.

The initial proposed location is Fire Station 3 on Jackson St.

Regardless of if the baby box proposal is approved, Wilson says the project is a great opportunity to educate the community on the Safe Haven Law.

Wilson says all fire stations in Columbus are already prepared to accept infants under thirty days of age under Indiana’s Safe Haven Law.

When fire department officials discussed the box, they couldn’t recall a time that any infant had been surrendered at a Columbus location, Wilson says.

Since the law went into effect in 2000, more than 3,000 infants have been safely surrendered.

“There may be a segment of population that agrees that safe haven baby box would be a good idea,” he says. “But I also believe there would be a segment of community that would say we don’t need that and maybe we should focus instead on resources for the family that is preparing to safely surrender their 30-day-old infant.”

Wilson says the city and fire department are waiting for more information from Wart on plans for the baby box.

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